Speed Reads

Cruel and Unusual

Jail guards sentenced on cruelty charges after forcing prisoners to listen to 'Baby Shark' on loop

A pair of Oklahoma City jail guards were sentenced on a misdemeanor cruelty charge for forcing inmates to listen to the song "Baby Shark" as a punishment, USA Today reported Tuesday. 

The guards, Gregory Cornell Butler Jr. and Christian Charles Miles, pleaded no contest to the charge and were sentenced to two years of probation. They were also fined $200, and additionally ordered to pay $300 in victim's compensation and complete 40 hours of community service. 

The pair have also been banned from working in law enforcement, USA Today reported. 

The charges stemmed from an investigation into Butler's and Miles' conduct in 2019. The investigation found that the guards allegedly chained prisoners to the wall and forced them to listen to "Baby Shark" on a loop at loud volumes for hours at a time, The Oklahoman reported in 2020. 

The children's song has become infamous for its repetitive nature and irritating cadence. In 2018, it was described as "the year's most annoying song" by The Guardian and The Irish Timesamong others. 

In an affidavit obtained by The Oklahoman, the pair admitted that they had "systematically worked together and used the...[song] 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." 

The case was built around four victims, USA Today noted, but investigators believed there were likely more. Butler and Miles were originally charged with misdemeanor counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy. At the time, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said 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," Prater had told The Oklahoman.