NY Man Stabbed After Woman Mistakes His Sign Language For Gang Signs

A group of friends who are deaf and use sign language to communicate were stabbed in a Florida bar after a woman thought their signing was gang signs.

Talk about jumping to conclusions.

The New York Daily News reports that, on Saturday night, 31-year-old Alfred Stewart was with friends who are also deaf at the Ocean’s Eleven Lounge in Hallendale Beach, Florida, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. 45-year-old Barbara Lee thought they were “throwing gang signs at her, and responded by flashing gang signs back at them,” after which Stewart and his friends “motioned for her to leave them alone.”

Lee then left the bar and returned with 19-year-old Marco Ibanez and a 17-year-old who was not identified. Ibanez pulled a knife on Stewart and his friends. 

Says Brenda Stewart, who was injured while trying to help her son and his friends, on WSVN:

“They all were doing hand signs, and it went as if someone thought it was a gang sign. He got stabbed, and the other one was cut up. His friend got cut, and he got stabbed. Another one of his friends was talking to the other guy, must have been trying to let the other guy know that it was just talk, and he tried to stop the other people from fighting, and the guy came from behind him and stabbed him, so he doesn’t know who it was that stabbed him or nothing. Stabbed him in his back.”

Brenda Stewart said there was “no way” her son was making gang signs:

“Only sign language. That’s the only way all of them, they do sign language.”

Stewart and three friends had to be taken to the hospital and a bouncer had a bottle broken over his head. Fortunately, no one received life-threatening injuries. Lee, Ibanez, and the 17-year-old have been arrested and charged with aggravated battery; they are in police custody.

Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Stewart and his friends and that they keep talking — signing — as much as ever, wherever and everywhere.


Photo of sign for "translate" by Danielle-Claude Bélanger on Wikimedia Commons

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Dimitris Dallis
Dimitris Dallis2 years ago

Well, it's not such a high level of stupidity...

Lauren Senior
Lauren S.2 years ago

That's appalling. I hope Alfred and his friends got better quickly and weren't too shaken up by it all!
I can't believe people can still be so ignorant, but what's worse is to go fetch people with knives to 'solve' the issue!

Nichola Mac Donough
Nichola Mac D2 years ago

Barbara Lee...what a stupid cow...I really hope she feels shame for her actions; and she goes to prison for many years so she can contemplate on what she caused...

Amy Liebetreu
Amy L.2 years ago

It serves this band of jackasses to go straight to jail for being so stupid and especially violent. Because they are stupid - they should be made to do intensive therapeutic anger management classes as well as take a cultural awareness and tolerance class.

Lawrence Travers
Lawrence Travers2 years ago

The ignorant ***** should get major slammer time!

TJ in London
Past Member 2 years ago

Mind boggling ignorance! What fools some people are ...seeing everything through a distorted lens . These poor guys.

Timothy Spurlin
Timothy Spurlin2 years ago

Plain and simple HUMAN STUPIDITY! Lock them away, and make them take ASL classes and learn it as a new languages.

Carole R.
Carole R.4 years ago

This is just awful. What next? :0(

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago

talk about stupidity!

Ira Herson
Ira Herson4 years ago

There is no excuse for violence. It should not matter if it was ASL or gang signs. Wearing colours or signing, religion or political affiliation is never a licence for anyone to attack anyone else.

What is the matter with people? isn't life hard enough without making it harder with stupid violence.

I hope the courts throw the book at the people who use knives to express themselves. Shame on them and anyone that would support them.