Police have charged a Brooklyn teenager in the stabbing death of O’Shea Sibley, a professional dancer and gay man. Sibley was dancing at a gas station with friends on July 29 when, police say, the teen hurled homophobic and racist slurs at the group then stabbed Sibley once in the chest.
According to CBS New York, the 17-year-old will be charged as an adult, however police will not release his name as he is underage. He is being held without bail.
CBS also reports that the teen is Muslim. However, his grandmother told the New York Daily News that those reports are incorrect and he is actually “a Christian and belongs to the church. He wears a cross.”
She also told the Daily News that her grandson wasn’t a racist and had simply acted in self-defense.
“The news says he hates Black people, but his older brother has married a black woman. We have a grandchild who is Black. He does not understand gay or not gay,” she said. “There were four of them… strong, big men and intoxicated, if he did not do it, the guys would have killed him,” she continued.
Mayor Eric Adams spoke about the tragedy and what the city plans to do moving forward.
“This is a city where you are free to express yourself, and that expression should never end with any form of violence,” Adams said. “We’re going to create an environment where the city is safe and one should be allowed to dance, to express themselves, to dress the way they want.”
An Act Of Solidarity
Sibley’s murder has rocked the LGBTQ+ community in New York and sparked moments of solidarity from many prominent Black women. Beyoncè posted a tribute to the young, professional dancer who was revered for his talent, on her website.
“Rest in power, O’Shea Sibley” she wrote.
Before the altercation that led to his murder, Sibley was dancing and voguing alongside his friends, to Beyoncè’s 2022 album, “Renaissance.”
The queer community in New York took to the streets to mourn Sibley’s killing and express solidarity.