Thursday, December 2, 2021

Prison officials played ‘baby shark’ on repeat as ‘torture tactic’, lawsuit says

Oklahoma City — Three men are suing Oklahoma County Jail employees who investigators found forced them to stand handcuffed for hours and listen to a children’s song “Baby Shark” on repeat.

According to The Oklahoman, attorneys for three former inmates filed a civil rights lawsuit in Oklahoma City federal court on Monday.

Daniel Hedrick, Joseph “Joey” Mitchell and John Basko are suing Oklahoma County commissioners, Sheriff Tommy Johnson III, of the prison trust and two former jailers, describing the discipline tactics as “incidents of torture.”

A criminal investigation last year determined that in two separate incidents in November and December 2019, at least four prisoners were tied to a wall with their hands while the song was being played loudly.

In the lawsuit, lawyers repeatedly called “baby sharks” a known tool for torment. He described how in West Palm Beach, Florida, a children’s song was blown up outside an event center in 2019 to prevent the homeless from sleeping through the night.

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A fourth former prison inmate, Brandon Newell, did not attend the trial because he was convicted of first-degree murder a month after the “torture” incident and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Two former detention workers, Gregory Cornell Butler Jr. and Christian Charles Miles, both 21, and their supervisor, Christopher Raymond Hendershot, 50, were charged with misdemeanor misdemeanors and conspiracy to commit cruelty to an inmate as a result of the investigation.

The jury trial in the criminal case is scheduled for February.

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