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."
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.
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.