Jail Guards Charged With Cruelty After ‘Forcing Inmates To Listen To Baby Shark On Repeat’

Emily Brown

| Last updated 


Two former detention officers and their supervisor have been charged with cruelty after forcing prison inmates to listen to Baby Shark on repeat. 

The children’s song began to test the patience of parents and social media users worldwide after it became part of a viral dance challenge in 2017, with listeners – parents particularly – quickly becoming sick of its repetitive lyrics.

Even a couple of seconds of airtime would ensure the track became stuck in listeners’ heads all day, so when Gregory Cornell Butler Jr., Christian Charles Miles and Christopher Raymond Hendershott were found to have played it to inmates at Oklahoma County jail they faced severe repercussions for their actions.


District Attorney David Prater charged the three men on Monday, October 5 with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy. Butler and Miles, both 21, are accused of imposing the discipline while Hendershott, a 50-year-old lieutenant, is accused of learning about the mistreatment and doing nothing to stop it.

An investigation into the incident found that at least four inmates were subjected to the ‘inhuman’ discipline in an attorney visitation room of the jail in November and December last year. Video surveillance recordings showed some inmates were in the room for as long as two hours.

Detention officers secured the inmates to a wall and forced them to stand with their hands cuffed behind them while Baby Shark was played on a loop at loud volumes for extended periods of time, The Oklahoman reports.

In an affidavit, an investigator said that Miles confirmed 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 behaviour of the inmates.’

Butler also confirmed that he used the booth as a means of punishment, with the playing of the song ‘said to be a joke between Miles and Butler’.

The investigator added that the music put ‘undue emotional stress on the inmates who were most likely already suffering from physical stressors.’

District Attorney Prater said he would have preferred to file the officers’ behaviour as a felony, stating:

It was unfortunate that I could not find a felony statute to fit this fact scenario.

Baby Shark video stillPinkfong!/YouTube

The District Attorney went on to say that the Legislature should look at making a change to the law.

Butler, Miles and Hendershott were employees of the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department at the time of the incidents, and Butler and Miles were suspended from the department after the sheriff’s office learned about their actions. The detention officers later resigned while Hendershott retired from the job.

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Topics: Music, Baby Shark, Now, Oklahoma, prison


The Oklahoman
  1. The Oklahoman

    "Baby Shark" kid's song used to bully jail inmates, DA says

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