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Leftist narrative around Dagny Benedict's tragic death begins to crumble under scrutiny
Owasso Police Department

Leftist narrative around Dagny Benedict's tragic death begins to crumble under scrutiny

Dagny Benedict was a sophomore at Owasso High School in Tulsa who allegedly identified as "nonbinary." Benedict was involved in an altercation with other students on Feb. 7. The next day, she died unexpectedly.

Democrats and LGBT activists rushed to exploit the 16-year-old student's tragic passing, casting it both as a result of anti-LGBT bullying that supposedly culminated in a fatal fight and Republican policies concerning bathroom use.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for instance, suggested that the girl died from a "brutal assault" and that the "anti-trans fervor fueled by extreme Republicans across the country is having deadly consequences for our children."

Tori Cooper, a leading campaigner for the LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign, intimated Benedict was attacked over her "nonbinary" identification. Cooper also pinned blame on so-called "[e]xremist anti-LGBTQ+ hate accounts, like online troll Chaya Raichick, the woman behind 'Libs of Tiktok'" for "perpetuating a vile and hateful narrative that is permitting these types of public attacks."

Despite the confidence with which it has been advanced, the left's preferred narrative has crumbled under scrutiny.

Bodycam footage released Friday by the Owasso Police Department shows Benedict readily admit that she was not the target of violence but rather the initiator of the altercation.

When detailing the alleged bullying a trio of freshman girls subjected her to, Benedict says in the video that they mocked her clothing choice and laughed — making no mention of any anti-LGBT hostilities.

Police have since indicated that Benedict "did not die as a result of trauma," releasing security footage showing Benedict leave the school under her "own power."

The incident

The OPD indicated that a fight took place in a school restroom on Feb 7. It was ultimately broken up by other students and a school staff member who was supervising outside the bathrooms.

All students involved in the altercation "walked under their own power to the assistant principal's office and nurse's office," said police. In the office, school administrators contacted parents and took student statements but apparently refrained from contacting the relevant authorities about the brawl.

The school did, however, have its registered nurse assess the health of all persons involved in the altercation. Despite determining an ambulance was not necessary for Benedict, the nurse recommended the teen visit a medical facility for further examination.

Sue Benedict, the decedent's biological grandmother and guardian, called the Owasso Police Department just after 3:30 p.m. on the day of the incident requesting that an officer respond to Bailey Medical Center concerning an alleged assault that took place at Owasso High School West Campus.

Referring to Dagny Benedict as her "daughter" and employing feminine pronouns in reference to the teen, Sue Benedict indicated she wanted to press charges against the other students involved in the altercation.

In the company of her guardian at the hospital, Dagny Benedict told an officer that after stacking chairs around 1 p.m., she and her friend went to the nearby bathroom. Security footage appears to show six girls enter the bathroom in short succession ahead of the incident.

"I was talking to my friend. They were talking with their friends, and we were laughing, and they had said something like, 'Why do they laugh like that?'" Benedict told the officer. "And they were talking about us in front of us. And so I went up there and poured water on them."

Benedict confirmed to the officer that she had used a water bottle to soak the other girls who in turn allegedly responded with force.

"They came at me. They grabbed at 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," continued Benedict.

The officer suggested that by virtue of Benedict having allegedly started the fight, pressing charges might not have resulted in a cut-and-clear victory.

OPD 2024-3316 Community Releaseyoutu.be

The next day, Owasso Fire Department medics were called to the scene of a medical emergency involving Benedict.

Sue Benedict noted in her 911 call that the teen's eyes were rolled backward, she was breathing shallowly, and both her hands were curled. Sue Benedict also made passing mention of the use of anxiety medication but suggested the teen was not on any medication at the moment.

The teen was taken to St. Francis Pediatric Emergency Center in Tulsa where she later died. Her funeral was held on Feb. 15.

The OPD stressed after Benedict's death that it was investigating the incident "thoroughly" and looking for possible evidence of felony murder.

While the OPD initially indicated it was unclear whether the medical emergency was related to the Feb. 7 incident, police noted on Feb. 21 that preliminary autopsy results found that Benedict "did not die as a result of trauma." The OPD did note, however, that "any further comments on the cause of death are currently pending until toxicology results and other ancillary testing results are received."

Owaso Public Schools released the following statement: "The Owasso Police Department has notified district leaders of the death of an Owasso High School student. The student's name and cause of death have not yet been made public. As this is an active police investigation, we will have no additional comment at this time. Further inquiries should be directed to the Owasso Police Department."

Purposing tragedy

The possibilities that Benedict's tragic end had nothing to do with hate and possibly nothing to do with an altercation between the high-school girls she allegedly provoked have not gotten in the way of activists making the most out of their preferred narrative.

Freedom Oklahoma, an LGBT activist group, said in a statement using the teen's nickname, "We know that Nex Benedict, the student who died, faces being deadnamed and misgendered in death, after a horrific attack that killed Nex, possibly because of Nex's TGNC+ identity."

Freedom Oklahoma hedged its bets, adding, "[W]hether Nex died as a direct result of injuries sustained in the brutal hate-motivated attack at school or not, Nex's death is a result of being the target of physical and emotional harm because of who Nex was."

The Human Rights Campaign — which has joined Freedom Oklahoma in painting Chaya Raichik as a key villain in the story of Benedict's demise — claimed, "Nex's death also comes at a time when extremist politicians have weaponized trans and gender-expansive identities for political gain, stoking hate and discrimination through their vile rhetoric."

Tactfully campaigning off the incomplete story of Benedict's death, the HRC stressed, "We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation at the local, state and federal levels, while also considering every possible way to make ending this violence a reality."

The Independent published a piece titled, "Oklahoma banned trans students from bathrooms. Now Nex Benedict is dead after a fight at school." In the piece, Benedict's grandmother claimed that the decedent became the target of bullying after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) ratified legislation requiring students to use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex.

KABC-TV was one of the many media outfits to further insinuate a link between Republican policies pushing back against radical social constructivism in schools and Benedict's death.

Against the backdrop of the teen's untimely death, KABC highlighted how Stitt has "banned the use of nonbinary gender markers on IDs, restricted gender-affirming care for trans youth and banned transgender girls from participating in girls' sports," intimating a possible connection.

On Saturday, a few hundred LGBT activists flocked to Oklahoma City to remember Benedict and use her death for political purposes.

Bryan Paddock, one of the co-founders of Rural Oklahoma Pride, told the Oklahoman, "This is us taking a stand for that person as well as our community. We need change in Oklahoma. We need change in the United States. That youth was not protected as they should have been and there's so much legislation out there that is seeking to erase or dispose of our community."

Students at Owasso High School staged a walkout Monday in protest of a supposedly pervasive culture of bullying they have been led to believe resulted in Benedict's death, reported NBC News.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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