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O'Shae Sibley

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Police in New York are investigating the death of O’Shae Sibley, a man who was killed in Brooklyn over the past weekend as a hate crime.

The death of a Black queer man by the name of O’Shae Sibley after an altercation ensued over his dancing in a gas station parking lot has now been deemed a hate crime by the New York Police Department. The incident, which was caught partially on video, has sent shockwaves of anger throughout the LGBTQ community.

On Saturday (July 29), Sibley and a group of friends stopped to refuel at a Mobil gas station on Coney Island Avenue in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn at 11 p.m. As someone filled the tank, Sibley, 28, played Beyoncé’s Renaissance album and was voguing to the music. Voguing is a style of dance that mimics the movements of fashion models, becoming popularized by those in the ballroom scene of the 1980s, predominately by Black people and other people of color in the LGBTQ community.

Sibley was approached by a group of men, who yelled at them to stop dancing while allegedly hurling homophobic slurs at him and his friends. The two groups got into a heated verbal altercation, with a witness trying to intervene. “‘First of all, don’t fight in the store, just leave,’ I told both of them. They weren’t listening,” the witness told ABC 7. Sibley wound up in a scuffle and was stabbed in the chest. Sibley would die of his injuries after being rushed to Maimonides Medical Center.

Otis Pena, one of Sibley’s best friends, tried to stop the bleeding before he was taken to the hospital. “They murdered him because he’s gay, because he stood up for his friends,” he said in a Facebook video he posted hours afterward. The NYPD is currently looking for the suspect, who is believed to be a 17-year-old who works at a smoke shop not too far from the gas station. Witnesses remarked that he’s been someone who has caused trouble at that gas station before.

Sibley, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was a dancer who moved to New York City before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. His killing has caused concern among legislators and activists who have noted the rise in anti-LGBTQ sentiment within New York City in the last few months. “We’ll bring justice for O’Shae’s family and loved ones. His dancing joy will live on,” said Mayor Eric Adams in response to the incident.