Officers Who Played Baby Shark on Repeat to Torture Handcuffed Inmates Charged with Cruelty
2016’s Baby Shark was used to torture inmates at the Oklahoma County jail. The children’s song was played on a continuous loop for hours as four inmates were hand cuffed to a wall and forced to stand. Three former officers at the Oklahoma County jail have since been charged with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy. District Attorney David Prater was appalled by the case and wishes he could have done more in terms of punishment. Prater says, “It was unfortunate that I could not find a felony statute to fit this fact scenario. I would have preferred filing a felony on this behavior.”
Gregory Cornell Butler Jr., 21, Christian Charles Miles, 21, and Christopher Raymond Hendershott, 50, were charged with the counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy earlier this week, though the incident took place last year. Both Butler and Miles resigned during the following internal investigation for playing Baby Shark on a loop, and their supervisor, Hendershott, has since retired. It is believed that Hendershott was not involved in the planning, but he did allow it to happen under his watch and allegedly let further unorthodox and “inhumane” acts of punishment occur while he was supervisor.
At the time of the Baby Shark incident, Sheriff P.D. Taylor was in charge of jail operations. Since then, a trust has taken over the Oklahoma County jail. “We don’t tolerate it,” Taylor said of the mistreatment. “We always did an excellent job policing ourselves.” He went on to say that an investigation was opened up as soon as he learned of the Baby Shark punishment.
Gregory Cornell Butler and Christian Charles Miles were reportedly not happy with the way other punishment was working for certain inmates at the Oklahoma County jail. So, they took matters into their own hands and got creatively torturous with Baby Shark. Miles later confirmed that he and Butler “systematically worked together and used the… attorney booth as a means to discipline inmates and teach them a lesson because they felt that disciplinary action within the Detention Center was not working in correcting the behavior of the inmates,” according to the investigator who wrote affidavits for the case. The investigator continues, “Butler also confirmed that he used the booth as a means of punishment. The playing of the music was said to be a joke between Miles and Butler.”
The investigator on the case wrote that the use of Baby Shark and being handcuffed to a wall caused “undue emotional stress on the inmates who were most likely already suffering from physical stressors.” Video footage of the incident corroborated inmate interviews and further investigations are being made into similar acts of rogue punishment from other officers within the Oklahoma County Jail. The Oklahoman was the first to report on the Baby Shark rogue punishment story.