Just visiting? Man trapped in max security jail cell awarded $600k

FILE PHOTO © Frank Polich
Farad Polk was awarded $600,000 after a visit to his son at the Cook County Jail turned into a weekend stay. Following directions from a guard, Polk accidentally entered a super-maximum security visitors room, where he was trapped for 32 hours.

There are a number of reasons why people spend a weekend in jail, but most of them involve a crime. Unfortunately for Polk, the only crime he committed in early July 2014 was asking a Cook County Jail guard how to get to the visitors’ room, where he could see his son. Instead, he was sent to an eight-by-eight foot cell, where he was trapped for 32 hours, according to WBBM.

They just sent me down the hall by myself and told me to go into the room,” Polk told WBBM.

When the door shut behind him, he was trapped.

I see the camera up there, so I figure I get into a little trouble, I start waving my hand, kicking on the door, making noise,” he said.

The thick concrete prevented anyone from hearing him, and he spent 32 hours in the room without food, water or a bathroom before he decided to break a sprinkler head to flood the cell.

Even when his cell flooded, it was the Chicago Fire Department that responded to free him. While no employee has been punished as a result of the incident, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department apologized and resolved the matter with the $600,000 award for emotional damages.

The jail has also changed its visitor procedure.