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O’Shae Sibley: Suspect charged with murder over killing of Brooklyn dancer

A teenager has being charged with a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon

By Charlotte Manning

O'Shae Sibley
The dancer was killed in Brooklyn last month (Image: WHITNEY BROWNE/ALVIN AILEY)

A 17-year-old has been charged with the murder of gay dancer O’Shae Sibley. 

Sibley, 28, was stabbed on Saturday (29 July) after a group of men approached him at a gas station in Brooklyn, New York.

The professional dancer had been voguing to Beyoncé’s Renaissance album when the attack took place.

Joseph Kenny, an assistant chief at the New York Police Department’s detective bureau, explained: “We can see on the video the heated verbal dispute quickly turns physical.”

“This is a city where you are free to express yourself”

New York Mayor Eric Adams said that Sibley’s family had been affected by something that was “clearly a hate crime.”

“This is a city where you are free to express yourself, and that expression should never end with any form of violence,” Mr Adams said.

Mr Kenny said the unnamed suspect is being charged with a hate crime. This is “based on the statements from the group in general.”

The men yelled homophobic slurs and anti-Black statements at Mr. Sibley and his friends while they demanded he stopped dancing, according to Kenny.

“You have a lot of anti-gay statements, and a lot of derogatory statements being made – anti-Black – from the group and from the defendant himself,” he added.

“Expression should never end with any form of violence”

Mr Kenny explained bystanders tried to act as “peacemakers”. The men shouting at Mr Sibley’s group then began to flee, except for the defendant. 

A dispute escalated and one man stabbed Sibley, who was found by police with a stab wound in his torso. 

He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to police. 

Officials have not yet identified the suspect. A spokesperson with the New York City Police Department said he did not know whether the suspect would be charged as an adult.

Jake Kelly, Sibley’s father, said the attack “cut my son’s life down just because of his sexual preference which was just not fair to him in his prime.”

He described his son as “the glue to this family.” He added: “He was a great dancer and performer for the majority of his life.

“His spirit lit up every room he stepped in. His smile was contagious! To know him, was to live him. He did not deserve this. Everyone loved his spirit.”

On Beyoncé’s website, the words “Rest in Power O’Shae Sibley” laid against a black backdrop after his death.

According to an online obituary, Sibley’s funeral will be held Tuesday in Philadelphia.