Former jailers charged with torturing inmates by playing ‘Baby Shark’

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It was the song that was a catchy ditty for some and a painful punishment for others (parents in some cases). Now investigators have said the children’s song “Baby Shark” was one of the ways two former jail workers chose to antagonize inmates at an Oklahoma jail.

Investigators say two former Oklahoma County jail employees forced inmates to stand handcuffed for hours and listen to the children’s melody, a prosecutor said Monday.

At least four inmates were secured to a wall with their hands cuffed behind them while the song played loudly on a loop for hours, The Oklahoman reported. The separate incidents, which investigators called “inhumane,” occurred in November and December, according to court records.

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“It was unfortunate that I could not find a felony statute to fit this fact scenario,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said. “I would have preferred filing a felony on this behavior.”

The misdemeanor charges were filed Monday against former Oklahoma County jail employees Gregory Cornell Butler Jr. and Christian Charles Miles, both 21, and their supervisor, Christopher Raymond Hendershott, 50.

The two former employees reportedly used the song loop and handcuffing as entertainment throughout their workday and to “teach [incarcerated people] a lesson because they felt that disciplinary action within the Detention Center was not changing the behavior of the inmates."

The supervisor learned of the mistreatment on Nov. 23, 2019, but “took no immediate action to either aid the inmate victim or discipline the Officers,” according to the investigator’s report. “This appeared to have led to the Officers continuing to mistreat inmates,” according to the report.

Sheriff P.D. Taylor said Monday that Butler and Miles resigned during an internal investigation and that Hendershott retired.

“We don’t tolerate it,” Taylor said of the mistreatment. “We always did an excellent job policing ourselves.”

The “Baby Shark” song gained huge popularity two years ago after the company Pinkfong released its first video online. The video has since been viewed more than 6.5 billion times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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