Nex Benedict: Chilling bodycam footage before nonbinary teen’s death

Newly-released video shows the 16-year-old nonbinary student who died the day after a fight in a school bathroom recounting the events leading up to the brawl to an officer — who said the teen “essentially started it”.

Nex Benedict, from Oklahoma, in the US, appeared conscious and alert in the police bodycam footage as they sat in a hospital bed during police questioning after their bullies allegedly bashed their head against the floor, the New York Post reports.

The student and their mother told an Owasso school course officer that a group of girls that had been “antagonising” them in the days before had been picking on Nex and their friends over the way they dressed.

“I was talking to my friends, they were talking to their friends, and we were laughing and they had said something like, ‘Why do they laugh like that?’ They were talking about us in front of us. So I went up there and poured water on them. Then all three of them came at me,” Nex told the officer.

“They came at me. They grabbed on my hair. I grabbed onto them. I threw one of them into a paper towel dispenser and then they got my legs out from under me and got me on the ground.”

The girls continued beating Nex until they blacked out, the teen said, later adding that their pain was “bad”.

Nex’s mother Sue Benedict had called police to come to the hospital after the February 7 bathroom attack and repeatedly expressed anger that the school hadn’t done so themselves.

The school resource officer told the mother that she had the right to ask police to respond to Owassao High School the next time her child was being threatened, to which Ms Benedict chillingly replied: “Well, hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”

Nex died the following day after their mother called emergency responders to their home, saying the teen’s breathing was shallow, their eyes were rolling back and their hands were curled, according to audio also released by Owasso police.

In the 911 call, Ms Benedict told dispatchers she was worried Nex was suffering from a head injury.

“I hope this ain’t from her head. They were supposed to have checked her out good,” said Ms Benedict, who later said she was still struggling to learn her child’s pronouns. Nex used they/them pronouns.

The high-schooler was rushed to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

Friends and family of the teenager have said the relentless bullying Nex faced because of their gender identity was an open secret at the school that administrators and faculty allegedly turned a blind eye to.

When asked why Nex hadn’t reported the alleged bullies’ behaviour in the lead-up to the brutal bathroom beatdown, the teen responded that they “didn’t really see the point in that”.

Nex and their mother initially seemed interested in pressing charges against the girls until the office explained that Nex would also be viewed as an assailant for squirting the water.

“She essentially started it,” the cop can be heard saying.

According to a police search warrant, Ms Benedict indicated to police on February 7 that she didn’t want to file charges on behalf of her child at that time. Ms Benedict instead asked police to speak to school officials about issues on campus among students.

After telling the pair they could change their minds about pressing charges in the following days, the officer left Nex with what would later become a heartbreaking message.

“Hopefully I see you around school, in class and wandering the halls and all that good stuff,” the officer said, adding, “You can smile and wave.”

Although an official autopsy report has not been released, officials said preliminary results indicate Nex did not die from trauma, prompting the teen’s family to launch their own investigation.

The family said some facts about the case have not been released and were “troubling at least” – and called on “school, local, state and national officials to join forces to determine why this happened.”

They are seeking “to hold those responsible to account and to ensure it never happens again.”

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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