Four former Oklahoma County Detention Center inmates allege their civil rights were violated during their time inside the jail in a federal lawsuit Tuesday. Three of the inmates claim they were forced to stand, handcuffed behind the back, for prolonged periods of time while the popular children’s song “Baby Shark” played on loop at a loud volume in a nearby room. They claim they experienced the same thing at different times.
All three allege two detention officers would lead them into an attorney visitation room and then leave them for upwards of three to four hours with the music playing.
The Associated Press reported in October 2020 that two former Oklahoma jail employees and their supervisor faced misdemeanor cruelty charges after investigators found the accusations to be true.
At the time they identified the former Oklahoma County jail employees as Gregory Cornell Butler Jr. and Christian Charles Miles, both 21, and their supervisor, Christopher Raymond Hendershott, 50. They will go to trial on February 7, 2022.
“Use of the ‘Baby Shark’ children’s song, in the manner described herein, is known device to torment,” lawyers for the inmates wrote in their federal court filing. “It has been reported that the city of West Palm Beach has utilized ‘Baby Shark’ outside an event center to deter homeless people from sleeping or convening in the area at night.”
The inmates who filed the federal lawsuit claim the 14th amendment was violated and that the detention officers used excessive force. They also say they faced “unconstitutional conditions of confinement/torture.”
This case is a prime example of perspective. The inmate perspective is “cruel and unusual,” however my 5 year old would not mind listening, singing, and dancing to this song for 5 hours straight. There are many questions regarding this situation, but the only question I have is when will parents be able to have this same lawsuit.