Tort Law

Man accidentally locked in jail visiting room for 30 hours sues county for damages


A visitor who was accidentally locked in a Chicago jail for some 30 hours earlier this month says he was initially handcuffed and questioned after he finally managed to alert authorities of his presence by breaking a sprinkler head.

Now he is suing.

Farad Polk, 51, says he lost track of time during the ordeal at the Cook County Jail and wondered whether he would ever see his grandchildren again. He has stitches in his hand from an injury caused by breaking the sprinkler head, the Chicago Tribune reports. When he isn’t busy, his mind keeps returning to the thoughts and feelings he had while trapped in the supermaximum security visiting room, he told the newspaper.

“Any time I get some down time, it just keeps coming,” he said during a Monday press conference about the Cook County Circuit Court suit, which was filed the same day.

Trying to follow directions to visit his son, Polk entered the eight-foot square room on July 5 after its door had been left open by contractors. The door then closed and left Polk without food, water, bedding or a toilet for 32 hours, the suit says. Apparently due to the ongoing construction project there, the room had no security cameras, according to the newspaper.

Attorney Cannon Lambert, who is representing Polk, says his client could at one point hear guards talking outside and wonders why they couldn’t hear Polk kicking at the door and shouting underneath it.

“There are a whole lot of questions they’re going to have to answer,” the lawyer said, referring to county officials.

Jail director Cara Smith, who has apologized from the outset for Polk’s experience, said the facility is reviewing its policies and procedures, the Tribune reports.

“It does not change our reaction to this unfortunate incident,” she said of the lawsuit. “We remain very sorry for what Mr. Polk went through and focused on making sure it does not happen again.”

The negligence suit seeks unspecified damages for physical and psychological injuries.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Jail visitor is accidentally locked up for 30 hours, finally breaks sprinkler head to escape”

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