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updated: 7/14/2014 8:49 PM

Visitor trapped in Cook County jail files lawsuit

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Associated Press

A man who was trapped in a room at a Chicago jail for about 30 hours, during which he yelled and pounded on walls to get someone's attention, filed a lawsuit Monday, citing his anguish at being locked up.

Farad Polk says he was visiting his son at Cook County jail on July 5 when a propped-open door of an unused visiting room slammed shut, trapping him without food, water or bedding. He had to use the bathroom on the floor, he said.

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Polk, 51, said he realized something was wrong when his son was not brought to him within five minutes of his arrival. He wasn't freed until after he activated a fire sprinkler that summoned firefighters. Polk said he was handcuffed and questioned before being allowed to go, and needed stitches on a thumb from breaking the sprinkler.

"He could hear voices of guards on the other side of the door. Presumptively, if he could hear them, they could hear him," said Polk's attorney Cannon Lambert.

The lawsuit alleges jail officials carelessly and negligently instructed Polk when he visited his son, who is being held on drug charges. After being directed to "go down the hallway and turn to the right," Polk entered a door that had been propped open. The room is reportedly where people visit super-maximum security prisoners and is not used on weekends.

"He is having some difficulties, some emotional concerns," Lambert said of Polk, who said he drove to the jail during the past weekend to visit his son, but he could not get out of the car to go in.

Cook County jail executive director Cara Smith said the facility has implemented additional checks and balances and "we remain incredibly sorry he had to go through this experience."

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