Two former officers and their supervisor charged with cruelty at the Oklahoma County jail after an investigation. According to the prosecutor, investigators found handcuffed inmates, secured to the wall and forced to listen to “Baby Shark”.
The once viral children song played at very high volume repeatedly for hours.
The charge revealed that in an attorney visitation room of jail last November and December, at least four inmates were subjected to the “cruel” discipline.
District Attorney would have filed a felony
Charged officers and supervisor were Gregory Cornell Butler Jr., 21, of Edmond; Christian Charles Miles, 21, of Oklahoma City; and Christopher Raymond Hendershott, 50, of Wellston.
Butler and Miles accused of imposing the inhuman discipline while Hendershott accused of not taking actions to stop despite his knowledge.
However, District Attorney David Prater charged them with misdemeanours of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy.
Prater said that he would have preferred filing a felony on them, but unable to find a felony statute to fit the behaviour, unfortunately.
He later added that the Legislature should make a change to the law.
Sheriff P.D. Taylor was in charge of jail operations at the time. Later, a trust took over the jail on July 1.
“Baby Shark” was a joke between the officers
The sheriff said that he suspended Butler and Miles from any contact with inmates as soon as he acknowledged the matter. Two accused officers resigned during an internal investigation. Meanwhile, the supervisor retired.
An investigator wrote in the filed affidavits of the case that Miles confirmed he worked together with Butler to discipline inmates. Miles felt that the disciplinary action in the Detention Centre was not working. Thus, he used the attorney booth as a means to discipline inmates.
The investigator wrote that Butler also admitted that he used the booth for punishment. Besides, the filed case recorded that “Baby Shark” was a joke between Miles and Butler.
Following that, the investigator added that the music puts unnecessary emotional stress on the inmates who already suffered from physical stress.
According to the investigator, Hendershott knew the mistreatment on November 3 but did not take immediate action. And Hendershott’s ignorance caused further mistreatment to inmates.
From the recordings on the video surveillance, the investigator said Miles and Butler kept some inmates as long as two hours.
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