A 17-year-old suspect pleaded not guilty to the deadly stabbing of a New York City dancer that investigators believe was motivated by hate.
The violent death happened on July 29 after a brutal confrontation at a gas station in Midwood, Brooklyn, when a group of gay black men got into an argument with a group teenagers.
The men were returning from a trip to the beach, and were dancing to a Beyonce song before the fight took place.
The tense confrontation lead to a brawl, which ended with the stabbing and death of O’Shae Sibley, a 28-year-old professional dancer.
According to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s office, Sibley first tried to diffuse the situation, but the attacker continued to antagonize him while he recorded the confrontation on his cell phone.
Eventually, the suspect pulled out a knife and stabbed Sibley on the side of the chest, puncturing his heart. According to witnesses, the attacker hurled anti-LGBT and anti-black slurs at Sibley as he was killed.
Sibley was rushed to Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, where he was pronounced dead.
The senseless murder has since struck the black and LGBTQ communities of New York City. Over 200 people attended his funeral, which was held at an historic opera house in Philadelphia.
Immediately after his death, Beyonce displayed ‘REST IN POWER O’SHEA SIBLEY’ on her website.
‘He could be my son,’ New York City Mayor Eric Adams said. ‘This is a city where you are free to express yourself. And that expression should never end in any form of violence.’
Dmitry Popov, a 17-year-old child of immigrants from Russia, was indicted for the murder by a grand jury and charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, manslaughter, and possession of a weapon.
He was not initially identified by authorities due to his status as a minor. However, his name was released by Brooklyn District Attorney’s office on Friday morning.
Witnesses at the scene initially told investigators Popov and his group were Muslims, and offended by the men wearing bathing suits.
However, Popov’s grandmother corrected this account last week, telling the New York Daily News that her grandson ‘a Christian and belongs to the church.’
Mayor Adams also confirmed that the initial reports were wrong.
‘These are both important communities in the city of New York,’ Mayor Adams said. ‘Their voices are loud and clear – they stand united against any form of hate in this city.’
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