Police release body cam footage of non-binary teen Nex Benedict in hospital before their death

New police body cam footage shows 16-year-old Nex Benedict in hospital talking to a police officer.

Recordings released on Friday (23 February) by the Owasso Police Department show the non-binary student conscious and alert when talking to officer Caleb Thompson on 7 February – the day before the teenager died.

Nex’s adoptive mother, Sue Benedict, called 911 on 8 February after she the teen’s breathing became shallow, their eyes had rolled back and their hands were curled inward.

Nex was taken to The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis, in Tulsa, where they were pronounced dead.

In the body cam footage, Nex and Sue can be heard claiming an altercation broke out in the school toilets after three girls antagonised the youngster and a friend.

After water was poured on them, a fight allegedly broke out during which Nex’s head is said to have hit the floor.

“They came at me. They grabbed on my hair. I grabbed on to them, I threw one of them into a paper towel dispenser and they got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground,” Nex said, before alleging that the girls began beating them until they blacked out.

In response, Thompson says a court would be likely to view it as a mutual fight.

In the 911 call, Sue mentioned her concern about the alleged injury to the operator, saying: “I hope this ain’t from her head.” She also asked the operator to contact Thompson so she could file charges.

A police statement has indicated that officers are awaiting the results of an autopsy report before making concrete statements surrounding the teenager’s death.

Early information from the medical examiner’s officer suggests that Nex, who was a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, did “not die as a result of trauma.” In response, a representative for the family said the preliminary details were “troubling at best.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has criticised the police investigation as well as Nex’s treatment at school, saying the teenager’s death “raises disturbing questions about bullying and harassment, school safety and victim blaming”.

HRC president Kelley Robinson said: “While legal proceedings are ongoing, one thing is clear: Nex never deserved the pain and fear they endured. Our fight for justice is also a fight for a safer future for all students.

“We cannot ignore it any longer. It’s beyond time to address the root cause of bullying and to create inclusive, supportive environments where everyone feels valued and protected.”

Oklahoma officials – including Libs of Tiktok founder – attack LGBTQ+ community in the wake of Nex’s death

Following Benedict’s death, queer activists across the world have expressed their anger at Oklahoma officials who continue to spout anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

Activists criticised Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik, who is on the Oklahoma Library Media Advisory board, for continuing to target LGBTQ+ people.

Raichik retweeted a post on X/Twitter in which someone claimed the body cam footage did not make it look as if Benedict was “beaten unconscious”, and in 2022, an Owasso High School teacher Benedict admired resigned after being targeted by Libs of TikTok.

Republican state senator Tom Woods was also lambasted for responding to a question about Nex’s death by saying that his “heart goes out” to the Benedict family but that Oklahoma “doesn’t want that filth” – referring to LGBTQ+ people.

Last week, city council member Sean Cummings publicly criticised Raichik and members of the state board for education for their treatment of the LGBTQ+ community, saying they had “emboldened” bullying and hatred and had “blood on [their] hands.”

Cummings, the vice-mayor of The Village, a suburb of Oklahoma City, told a meeting of members of the board, and superintendent Ryan Walters, who appointed Raichik in January: “Three older girls don’t just jump a 16-year-old in a bathroom for no apparent reason, especially when they’re from the [LGBTQ+ community] who you have personally attacked ever since you ran for office.

“You and your worthless a**, Chaya Raichik, literally have blood on your hands.”

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