An Illinois man visiting his son at the Cook County Jail accidentally got locked away for 32 hours, and he was recently awarded $600 million in damages.
The incident began back in 2014 when Farad Polk went to visit his son at Cook County jail. Polk said he was directed to “go down the hallway and turn to the right.” He followed the instructions, which required him to pass through a heavy steel door. Moments after proceeding through the doorway, the heavy door slammed shut behind him, and Polk found himself locked in an 8-by-8 foot cell classified by the jail as a super-maximum security prisoners’ visiting room.
Polk tried his best to scream for help, but the concrete prevented his cries from being heard. He also noted in his testimony that he tried to get a guard’s attention by waving at a camera, but the camera wasn’t operating correctly and he couldn’t be seen. Despite the fact that he never checked out on the visitor’s log, security personnel assumed that Polk had left the facility and did not try to locate the man.
So Polk waited, and waited, and waited.
Polk was confined to the small cell for 32 hours without food, water, a bed or even a toilet. Eventually, he came up with a plan. Polk reached to the ceiling and damaged a fire sprinkler, which began flooding the cell, and authorities were alerted to his presence. He was rescued by firefighters, but he didn’t just get back in his car and leave.
Polk decided to sue the jail for physical, emotional and psychological trauma. Although the original suit did not specify how much money Polk was suing for, the county eventually offered Polk a $600,000 settlement, which he accepted on Monday.
“As we said at the time of this very unfortunate incident, we are so very grateful Mr. Polk was found safely. We are pleased that this matter has been resolved,” a spokesperson for the county said in a statement.