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O'Shae Sibley

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A Brooklyn teen has been arrested and charged as an adult in the murder of dancer O’Shae Sibley, and it has been deemed a hate crime.

On Saturday (Aug. 5), it was announced at a press conference held by the New York Police Department that they had detained the individual suspected in the fatal stabbing of O’Shae Sibley. NYPD Assistant Chief Joseph Kenny said that the suspect, who is 17, is being charged as an adult with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon. 

Kenny said that the suspect lives and goes to high school in Brooklyn and explained the reasoning behind the charges. Surveillance footage at the Coney Island Avenue gas station on July 29 showed Sibley dancing and vogueing as his friends were refueling their car before being confronted by another group of men in the parking lot. “They began to use derogatory names and homophobic slurs against them,” he said of the events leading up to the altercation. One person approached Sibley, stabbing him in his rib cage before fleeing in an SUV. “They also made anti-Black statements,” Kenny said. 

“Parents lost a child, a child to something clearly that was a hate crime,” said Mayor Eric Adams at a press conference, which was held outside of the gas station in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. “It wasn’t as though someone turned themselves in out of the goodness of their heart,” he continued, crediting law enforcement and community involvement for the arrest. “It was out of the proper investigation and coordination that led to no other thing to do but to turn themselves in.”

The death of Sibley comes as attacks against those from the LGBTQ+ community have increased rapidly, sparking outrage from that community as well as protests and rallies. “He was doing nothing more than voguing and dancing,” said NYC Center for Black Pride chief Lee Soulja Simmons on Saturday. “He did not deserve to die in that way.” Simmons also said that Black queer people were emotionally struggling with Sibley’s killing. Representatives from Muslim community organizations were also present at the press conference to lend their support, as the suspect reportedly said at the outset of the incident: “I’m Muslim. I don’t want this here.”

Under the law in New York State, the suspect faces a mandatory sentence of 20 years to life if he’s to be tried as an adult. The Brooklyn District Attorney could change the charges once they take over.