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Wednesday, September 14, 2022 – A prisoner has died after accusing prison officers of “torture” by forcing him to listen to the children’s song Baby Shark on repeat.
John Basco, 48, was found unresponsive in his cell in the Oklahoma County Detention Centre, US at around 3:50am on Sunday, September 11.
Prison officials said officers tried to resuscitate Basco until emergency responders arrived, but their efforts were in vain.
He was pronounced dead shortly after 4.06am, according to a press release.
Basco is the 14th inmate to die in the prison this year, and the facility has faced criticism in recent months over inmate deaths and escapes, according to the New York Post.
Basco was behind bars on a drug trafficking complaint.
According to prison spokesman Mark Opgrande, there were no obvious signs of foul play and an investigation has been launched into the incident.
He told The Oklahoman: “One of the possibilities being investigated is that it was a drug overdose.”
Basco was among the four jail inmates suing Oklahoma County, accusing former detention officers Gregory Cornell Butler Jr and Christian Charles Miles of forcing them to listen to Baby Shark on repeat whilst handcuffed to a wall.
Former Lieutenant Christopher Raymond Hendershott was also sued for learning about the incidents from 2019 but doing nothing to stop them.
Lawyers representing the detainees described the incidents as “torture events”, according to The Oklahoman.
An investigation concluded that the inmates were subjected to the mistreatment in an attorney visitation room, for up to two hours in some cases.
Lt Hendershott retired and the two officers were fired.
All three were charged with misdemeanour counts of cruelty to a prisoner and conspiracy.
There is also an additional lawsuit against Oklahoma County commissioners and Sheriff Tommie Johnson III, with a hearing scheduled for September 22.
Basco’s lawyer Cameron Spradling told The Oklahoman that he found the circumstances around his client’s death “disturbing” and called for “all evidence [to be] preserved immediately” as the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation probe unfolds.
He said: “One of the ‘Baby Shark’ victims is conveniently dead within three days of his arrival at the jail. How does that happen?
“District Attorney David Prater just lost one of his witnesses for the upcoming criminal trial. For me, this one does not pass the smell test.”