John Basco and several other inmates sued over alleged torture at the jail involving the children’s song “Baby Shark.”
John Basco was arrested Thursday. He died Sunday.
Now his family and his attorney are demanding answers.
“Imagine this, you call the jail and find out that your only brother, who’s only 48 years old, in good health, you can see from the booking photos is clear-eyed, in good health, clear eyed – is mysteriously dead,” said Cameron Spradling, John Basco’s attorney.
According to jail officials, Basco was arrested Thursday on drug trafficking charges as well as carrying or possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
“I wasn’t aware that John was even at the Oklahoma County Jail until the late afternoon of the ninth, Friday, the ninth,” Spradling said.
Spradling says on Sunday, Basco’s sisters called him to deliver the news.
“One was talking to me and the other one was crying, wailing in the background, truthfully, that John was dead,” said Spradling.
Last year, Basco and other former inmates filed a lawsuit, claiming that in 2019 they were pulled out of their cells in the middle of the night, handcuffed and forced to listen to the song “Baby Shark” – in some cases for hours at a time.
“It’s a known torture device that’s used by CIA,” Spradling said. “In other words, to play it on a loop for hours on end and they just did it for sport.”
Two former detention officers and their supervisor were charged.
Before the end of the year, all three had either quit or resigned.
That lawsuit is set to go to trial and Spradling wants to know what happened to the man he was representing.
“He’s calm, he’s clear eyed, he knows what’s up,” Spradling said. “He’s not going to make any trouble. He was a quiet man. He was an intelligent man. That’s John Basco. And John Basco was the best witness the district attorney had on the ‘Baby Shark’ torture case and now he’s gone.”
KFOR reached out to the Oklahoma County Jail and received the following statement:
“Our sympathies are with Mr. Basco’s family and loved ones. The State Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations is assisting in the investigation, but we can confirm there were no obvious signs of foul play. Additionally, we would like to note Mr. Basco’s lawsuit was against the previous jail administration, not against the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority or the current leadership. We remain committed to providing the safest environment possible for detainees and staff.”Oklahoma County Detention Center Director of Communications Mark Opgrande
District Attorney David Prater says he’s waiting for more information before commenting on Basco’s death.