Two former Oklahoma County jail guards and their supervisor were charged Monday with cruelty to prisoner offenses for allegedly forcing inmates to stand for hours while listening to the children's song "Baby Shark."
In November and December last year, Christian Miles and Greg Butler Jr., both 21, forced four inmates to stand alone in rooms handcuffed to a wall at the Oklahoma County Detention Center in Oklahoma City while they had to listen to the song on repeat, according to probable cause affidavits provided to BuzzFeed News.
At least two of the inmates were forced to stand for about two hours.
The song was put "on a loop to play repetitively aloud...thus putting undue emotional stress on the inmates who were most likely already suffering from physical stressors," investigators wrote.
"The playing of the music was said to be a joke" between the guards, according to the investigators.
The guards were said to be trying to discipline the inmates and "teach them a lesson."
Music played on repeat for hours is a form of psychological torture and was used by CIA agents during the George W. Bush administration, according to a 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report.
Christopher Hendershott, 50, was the guards' shift commander and was allegedly aware of the guards' practice, as well as numerous inmate complaints against them. He failed to conduct any investigation or discipline the pair, according to the affidavit.
The trio have been charged with the misdemeanor offenses of cruelty to prisoners, corporal punishment to an inmate, and conspiracy.
No attorneys were listed for the three in online court records.
A spokesperson for the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office said the guards were removed from having contact with inmates when officials learned of the allegations last December.
All three guards either voluntarily left the department during the investigation.
"We don't tolerate it," Sheriff P.D. Taylor told the Oklahoman newspaper, which was first to report the charges. "We always did an excellent job policing ourselves."