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Police release interview footage from bullied LGBTQ+ teen who died

Nex Benedict, a nonbinary Oklahoma teen who died this month shortly after being attacked in a school bathroom, is shown during a police interview conducted in an Owasso, Okla., hospital on Feb. 7. Image by Owasso, Okla., Police Department
Nex Benedict, a nonbinary Oklahoma teen who died this month shortly after being attacked in a school bathroom, is shown during a police interview conducted in an Owasso, Okla., hospital on Feb. 7. Image by Owasso, Okla., Police Department

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Police in Oklahoma have released bodycam footage from an officer who interviewed a bullied nonbinary 16-year-old the day before they died suddenly.

The footage released by the Owasso, Okla., Police Department on Friday had more than 47,700 YouTube views over the first 19 hours after it was made public.

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The video shows officer Caleb Thompson interviewing Nex Benedict at Bailey Medical Center in Owasso, Okla., on the afternoon of Feb. 7. Nex's mother is also present for the interview which focuses on the teen's injuries after being attacked by three girls at the high school they all attended.

Nex went to the hospital with minor injuries and was released. However, they were rushed back to the hospital the following day and later died, grabbing national headlines.

A funeral for the teen was held last week.

In a preliminary finding, police have said the injuries sustained during the fight were not the cause of death, however the investigation is continuing, including waiting on further medical testing.

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The state medical examiner has not yet released a cause of death.

In the video, Nex tells Thompson, a school resource officer assigned to Owasso High School, about the confrontation between two groups.

"I was talking with my friends, they were talking with their friends, and we were laughing and they had said something like, 'Why do they laugh like that?' And they were talking about us in front of us.

"And so I went up there and I poured water on them. And then all three of them came at me," Nex says. "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 then they got my legs out from under me, got me on the ground, started beating the s... out of me."

In the video, Thompson advises Nex that although assault charges were filed, they could also face charges for potentially instigating the incident by pouring water on the trio of attackers.

The school has not commented on any discipline that may have been handed out.

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Oklahoma State Sen. Tom Woods, a Republican, called Nex's death tragic and said his "heart goes out" to their family. But he went on to use the word "filth" to describe the LGBTQ+ community.

"We are a Republican state -- supermajority -- in the House and Senate. I represent a constituency that doesn't want that filth in Oklahoma," Woods said during a public meeting Friday, the Tahlequah Daily Press reported.

"We are a religious state and we are going to fight it to keep that filth out of the state of Oklahoma because we are a Christian state -- we are a moral state," he said. "We want to lower taxes and let people be able to live and work and go to the faith they choose. We are a Republican state and I'm going to vote my district, and I'm going to vote my values, and we don't want that in the state of Oklahoma."

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