An inmate who accused his jailers of forcing him to listen to the children’s song ‘Baby Shark,’ for hours on loop has been found dead.
John Basco, 48, was found unresponsive in his jail cell early Sunday morning, officials with the Oklahoma County Detention Center said.
Basco was booked into the jail Thursday on a drug trafficking complaint, but before that he and other inmates sued the county for allegedly handcuffing them to a wall and playing ‘Baby Shark’ on repeat for hours.
The alleged ‘torture’ took place on several occasions in 2019 and lasted for several hours.
Jail staff attempted life saving efforts when he was found Sunday morning, but were ultimately unsuccessful. He was the fourteenth inmate to die at the jail this year.
Oklahoma County Detention Center spokesperson Mark Opgrande said there were no obvious signs of foul play. Investigators are looking into the possibility of a drug overdose, though a state medical examiner will determine Basco’s official cause of death.
Basco and three other jail inmates sued the county last year, accusing two former detention officers of forcing them to listen to the repetitive children’s song on loop for extended periods of time while they were handcuffed to a wall.
The detention officers’ boss was also named in the lawsuit for learning about the mistreatment and not stopping it. The boss retired and the two officers were fired after an investigation confirmed the inmates were subjected to the questionable discipline.
Basco’s attorney, Cameron Spradling, told The Oklahoman he found the circumstances surrounding his client’s death suspicious.
‘I’m really bothered by this,’ Spradling 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 Pratter just lost one of his witnesses for the upcoming criminal trial. For me, this one does not pass the smell test.’
Basco had a long history of criminal convictions in Oklahoma County, dating back to the mid 90s, according to prison records.