Three former jail employees in the US state of Oklahoma are facing criminal charges amid claims inmates were forced to listen to the wildly popular song “Baby Shark” on repeat.
Hendershott, 50, were charged on Monday with cruelty to prisoners, corporal punishment to an inmate and conspiracy, Oklahoma County District Court records show.
According to affidavits, Mr Miles and Mr Butler placed at least five inmates, each separately, into an empty visitation room on at least five occasions in November and December.
The pair then allegedly handcuffed each inmate against the wall for up to two hours and played “Baby Shark” on repeat through a computer, forcing the prisoners to listen to the song, an internal investigation preceding the charges found.
Mr Hendershott “failed to properly supervise and discipline” Mr Butler and Mr Miles after learning of their actions, David Prater, the Oklahoma County district attorney, said.
Mr Butler and Mr Miles were “the subject of numerous inmate complaints that detailed their history of mistreatment”, Mr Prater wrote.
He added that the three had acted “conjointly, willfully and wrongfully” in a “cruel or inhuman manner” when they subjected inmates to the punishment.
Playing the song on repeat put “undue emotional stress on the inmates who were most likely already suffering” from being handcuffed to the wall, he wrote.
Though the three charges are misdemeanours, Mr Prater told The Oklahoman newspaper that he “would have preferred filing a felony on this behaviour”.
“It was unfortunate that I could not find a felony statute to fit this fact scenario,” he said.
County sheriff P D Taylor meanwhile confirmed to the newspaper that Mr Butler and Mr Miles had resigned during the internal investigation, while Lieutenant Hendershott retired.
“All three detention officers under investigation either quit or resigned from their positions by the end of December 2019,” Vice News quoted his office as saying.