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- An Alabama sheriff’s deputy has been placed on leave after reportedly writing a Facebook comment that mocked the recent suicide of an LGBTQ teen, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
- Nigel Shelby, 15, died by suicide last Thursday after being bullied over his sexual orientation, his mother told news outlets.
- The sheriff’s deputy poked fun at the LGBTQ abbreviation, saying it stood for “Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ.”
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A sheriff’s deputy in Huntsville, Alabama, has been placed on leave after repoertedly posting a Facebook comment saying he was “offended” by the gay rights movement and mocking the recent suicide of a an LGBTQ teen, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.
Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old freshman at Huntsville High School, died by suicide last Thursday after being viciously bullied over his sexual orientation, his mother told news outlets.
“He would tell me that kids would say things to him that would hurt his feelings,” Nigel’s mother, Camika Shelby, told NBC News. “I didn’t think it was as deep as things I’m hearing now.”
Nigel’s death prompted an outcry against homophobic bullying and harassment, and LGBTQ advocates have spoken out about the struggles teens like Nigel face in Alabama schools. Donations also poured in via a GoFundMe campaign to cover the costs of Nigel’s funeral.
But a deputy from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, who has not been officially identified, reportedly decided to publicly convey his disgust at the LGBTQ community’s response to Nigel’s death.
“Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ That’s my kind of LGBTQ [sic],” the deputy commented below an article on Nigel’s death posted to Facebook, according to a screenshot obtained by local NBC affiliate WAFF. “I’m seriously offended that there is such a thing such as this movement. Society cannot and should not except this behavior.”
The involved employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the audit. https://t.co/d7IYixIzZe
— Madison Sheriff AL (@mcsosheriffAL) April 23, 2019
He continued: “I have a right to be offended and will always be offended by this fake movement which requires no special attention but by person with an altered ego and fake agenda.”
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed via Twitter on Tuesday that officials were aware of the Facebook comment, and that the deputy in question was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
“The Madison County Sheriff’s Office acknowledges complaints of social media post allegedly made by an employee of the Sheriff’s Office to a local media outlet’s FB post on Sunday,” the office said. “The public can be assured that a thorough and complete audit will be conducted to arrive at an appropriate conclusion.”
Shelby’s death has sparked concern over what researchers say are alarming suicide rates among LGBTQ youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say LGBTQ youth are five times as likely as straight teens to make suicide attempts.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.
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