Two Oklahoma jail guards have been brought up on charges for restraining prisoners and forcing them to listen to the popular children's song "Baby Shark" repeatedly for hours.
Investigators have called the incident, which is similar to torture methods used at Guantanamo Bay, "inhuman."
"Baby Shark" kid's song used to bully jail inmates, DA says https://t.co/CDC3xiKEdI— The Oklahoman (@The Oklahoman) 1601988216.0
The incidents occurred at the Oklahoma County Detention Center in Oklahoma City in November and December of last year.
District Attorney David Prater charged Christian Miles, Greg Butler Jr., and Christopher Hendershott with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy for the incident, in which at least four inmates were handcuffed to a wall in an attorney visitation room for hours while the repetitive song played over and over again at high volume.
According to investigators' reports:
"['Baby Shark' was put] on a loop to play repetitively aloud...thus putting undue emotional stress on the inmates who were most likely already suffering from physical stressors."
The guards, Miles and Butler Jr., performed the stunt as a joke between them, and claimed it was to discipline the inmates and "teach them a lesson."
Hendershott, who was their shift commander, allegedly knew of Miles's and Butler Jr.'s practices but failed to discipline the pair or intervene in any way.
This method of punishment was infamously used by the second Bush Administration to torture inmates held at Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks. Children's songs were used in that setting as well, including the theme to the television show Barney & Friends.
DA Prater was sufficiently disturbed by the reports that he told local newspaper The Oklahoman that he is not satisfied with the three staffers being charged with only misdemeanors, but that Oklahoma law does not provide for stiffer charges.
"It was unfortunate that I could not find a felony statute to fit this fact scenario. I would have preferred filing a felony on this behavior."
On Twitter, many were outraged by what they felt was a sadistic show of power on the part of the guards.
@KassieMcClung @nolan50ok The UN and the European Court of Human Rights have banned the use of loud music during in… https://t.co/QlGHVWUfcz— Beth 🌹 🍞 🎃🍁👻 (@Beth 🌹 🍞 🎃🍁👻) 1601995293.0
https://t.co/5wPQXMX1sK isn't this a violation of the Geneva conventions?— Drew (@Drew) 1602022749.0
@gabrielmalor @ryanjreilly It’s called torture. Reform the prison system now!— Dan Prats (@Dan Prats) 1601996777.0
As a parent, can confirm this constitutes cruel and unusual... "Oklahoma jail workers charged after forcing inmate… https://t.co/1ywYE0lwYl— Michael Gendron (@Michael Gendron) 1602021516.0
@Complex Luckily it happened in America, the only developed country where prisoners aren’t actually human beings.— Justin (@Justin) 1602017859.0
@thedailybeast All memes aside this is pretty messed up. Noise torture really can break a person mentally.— Jordan Gravelin (@Jordan Gravelin) 1602022010.0
OK Ghraib https://t.co/LsgzfiKy0G— Spooky Disaster (@Spooky Disaster) 1602024286.0
I witnessed this type of activity first hand in Afghanistan. Fire this clown. Psychological Warfare has it’s place.… https://t.co/vqGKhIdc0D— Dusty Hefley (@Dusty Hefley) 1602035986.0
this is so cool because if you wanted to get tortured like this 10 years ago (and it is torture, don't let any fash… https://t.co/WcTGq1BAsT— elon musk stinky stan bitch page (@elon musk stinky stan bitch page) 1602013520.0
Sounds funny but that’s actually torture. Playing any sound or music at loud volumes over an extended period of tim… https://t.co/6aJE83ueK6— Mark (@Mark) 1601997342.0
According to the investigators' reports, several other incidents of similar abuse were reported, but investigators were unable to substantiate them with video evidence or victim testimony.
All three defendants left their positions during the investigations.