Man trapped in Cook County Jail 30-plus hours files court papers

A man trapped for more than 30 hours in a visiting room in the Cook County Jail while there to see his incarcerated son filed a petition for discovery Thursday in Cook County Court.

Farad Polk went to the jail during visiting hours on July 5 and entered a room where he was expecting to make a weekly visit to his son. The door swung shut and locked behind him, according to the petition filed by Polk’s attorneys, listed as Chicago-based Heller & Richmond, Ltd.

According to the petition, Polk was “deprived of food, water, bathroom facilities and any contact with the outside world” during the 30-plus hours in the room “despite his best efforts to escape.”

The discovery petition, which can be a prelude to a lawsuit, requests to inspect and photograph all areas of the jail, at 2700 S. California Ave. It also seeks to depose a representative of the county.

Polk suffered a laceration to his left thumb, requiring stitches, and “extreme mental anguish,” the petition says.

The thumb injury was the result of Polk activating a fire sprinkler system. That eventually brought the fire department to the “ever-flooding room” and led to Polk being freed, the petition says.

Polk was found about 1 a.m. Monday after having arrived at the jail around 6 p.m. Saturday to see his son, who is awaiting trial in a drug case, officials said.

His son, who has been in the jail for about 13 months, had been moved to a different area, a tier that the man wasn’t familiar with.

“He was told to proceed ahead and stay to the right to go to the visitor area,” Cara Smith, the director of the jail, said earlier this week. “He encountered a door that was propped open and he went in and the door shut behind him.”

Polk was trapped in an unoccupied room where people visit supermaximum-security prisoners.

Contractors had been working in the room, installing cameras, “incredibly, for better security,” Smith said earlier this week.

Smith said Thursday night in response to the filing “we remain focused on figuring out how it happened and very sorry that it did happen.”

“The filing … does not change our focus, which is determining how it happened and remaining very sorry that it happened to Mr. Polk and very grateful that he’s OK,” she said.

Polk’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Chicago Tribune

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