Over the weekend, an Oklahoma County inmate was found dead in his jail cell. The inmate was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the county alleging that in 2019, he and other inmates were tortured. The inmates claim that that jail employees forced them to listen to the children’s song “Baby Shark” on repeat for hours.
John Basco, 48, was found unresponsive in his cell early Sunday morning at the Oklahoma County Detention Center, according to officials. Basco was pronounced dead after jail workers began lifesaving efforts.
The cause of death as yet to be determined. According to AP News, the jail spokesman Mark Opgrande said there were no obvious signs of foul play and that investigators have not ruled out the possibility of a drug overdose.
Basco’s death is the 14th in 2022 alone at the facility. The Oklahoma Country Detention Center is no stranger to bad press as they’ve seen several inmate deaths, escapes, and other incidents.
Basco’s lawyers are suspicious of his calling it “convenient.” He was set to go to trial against the two officers named in the complaint in just a few weeks. He had been booked back into the jail on new drug trafficking charges just three days prior to his death. Basco’s lawyer Cameron Spradling told Rolling Stone, “It was very fortuitous to this jail and those detention officers that John Basco’s dead.”
“There is a criminal case and a federal civil rights case pending against three former detention officers, including a longtime lieutenant. One of the ‘Baby Shark’ Torture Victims is conveniently dead within three days of his arrival,” Spradling continued.
The group of inmates sued the county in federal court for allegedly being handcuffed to a wall and forced to listen to the song “Baby Shark” on repeat for hours during separate incidents back in 2019.
Spradling went on to say, that coincidentally enough, there was a delay on the charges being filed for Basco so he couldn’t bond out, forcing him to stay jail over the weekend. “They chose to take him in on Thursday and to not file charges on Friday. That bothered me.”
Since the suit, a jail lieutenant retired and two detention officers were fired in connection with the incidents, and all three face misdemeanor charges.