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.
FOX 25 reports the lawsuit is against two former detention officers, the sheriff who was managing the jail at the time, the Oklahoma County Commissioners and the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority.
A fourth inmate claims one of the detention officers handcuffed him to a bar behind his back and was left in that position for over an hour and a half. That inmate also claims an officer drove his knee into his back, slammed him into the wall of his cell and spit on his face.
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.”
The inmates are looking for $75,000 in damages, plus interest from the date of the court filing.
The “Baby Shark” song gained huge popularity in 2018 after the company Pinkfong released its first video online.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Former Oklahoma inmates forced to listen to ‘Baby Shark’ on repeat file federal lawsuit