The 17-year-old suspect accused of fatally stabbing a gay man in New York has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder as a hate crime.

O'Shae Sibley and his friends had been voguing at a petrol pump in Brooklyn on 29 July when an argument broke out with a group of teenagers.

Prosecutors claim the teens hurled homophobic and racist slurs before the suspect stabbed Mr Sibley in the heart.

Charged as an adult, the attacker faces 20 years to life in prison.

At his initial court appearance on Friday, he was identified as Dmitriy Popov, a final-year student at a local secondary school.

"Nothing about his past or his history shows that he's the type of person to commit this crime," his lawyer Mark Pollard told reporters.

Denying that his client had used any slurs, he hinted that his client may argue he acted in self-defence.

Prosecutors intend to prove the suspect's "senseless" and "targeted" actions were fuelled by anti-black and anti-LGBT bias.

O'Shae SibleyImage source, Facebook/ O'Shae SibleyImage caption, Mourners have paid tribute to Mr Sibley as 'a beacon of light'

"We're going to stand up for Mr Sibley, for the right he had to dance and be exuberant, the right he had not to stop dancing because it offended someone else," Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said at a Thursday news conference.

"Hate crimes impact a victim, but it also impacts a community. It robs not just the family, but an entire community of their sense of safety and security."

Mr Sibley, a professional dancer and choreographer, and his friends were returning from a day at the beach when they stopped at a petrol pump in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.

While at the filling station, they were voguing – a dance form associated with creative expression and resistance in LGBT circles – to the tune of songs from Renaissance, a Beyoncé album that is considered a love letter to black queer dance culture.

  • Beyoncé pays tribute to dancer fatally stabbed

Surveillance footage shows the two groups walking away from a heated dispute before Mr Sibley returns to confront the 17-year-old with his phone, then lunge at him.

Prosecutors say the teen stabbed Mr Sibley out of view of cameras, adding that they do not believe Mr Sibley's conduct was "cause for someone to take a weapon and do what was done in this case".

Protests and vigils replete with voguing have been held in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere over a murder that has struck a chord within the LGBT community.

Some 200 mourners paid tribute to Mr Sibley at his funeral Tuesday, held in a historic opera house in his hometown of Philadelphia.

"O'Shae had the power to touch everyone's heart, whoever met him," Otis Pena, a close friend who was at the petrol station, said. "O'Shae was a beacon of light for a lot of us in our community."

Others celebrated Mr Sibley's journey in dance since the age of three, from performing with the Philadelphia Dance Company to teaching at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

The dance company said it had established a scholarship in his honour "to encourage other students like him to follow their dreams".

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