CHICAGO (CBS) — We’re getting our first look inside the tiny room at Cook County Jail, where a man was trapped for nearly 32 hours earlier this month.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports Farad Polk went to the jail on the evening of July 5, to visit his son, and ended up imprisoned himself inside a small visiting room in the super maximum security Division 9 area of the jail.
On Wednesday, the Cook County Sheriff’s office released a photo of the fortified visiting room where Polk was trapped for approximately 32 hours before he was rescued.
Polk has sued Cook County officials for negligence, in allowing him to enter an 8-by-8-foot visiting room that was not in use, and get trapped inside alone without food, water, or bathroom facilities for more than a day.
The door to the room is thick, heavy steel, and Polk said he repeatedly pounded on the door to let someone know he was locked inside, but to no avail.
Ironically, the room was only open because contractors had been working to install security cameras and left it propped open. However, no working cameras or communication equipment had been installed in the room where Polk was trapped.
Polk said he thought he might die in the room, so he broke a sprinkler system on the ceiling, causing the room to start flooding. It also triggered an alarm, and Firefighters who responded rescued him around 1 a.m. on July 7.
“When the fire department came and let him out, he was put in handcuffs and was questioned,” said Polk’s attorney, Cannon Lambert. “We have problems with that.”
Lambert implied jail staffers might have left him there on purpose.
“He could hear voices of guards on the other side of the door. Presumably, if he could hear them, they could hear him,” Lambert said.
Jail officials flatly rejected any suggestion Polk was intentionally left locked inside the room. Cook County Jail Executive Director Cara Smith said they are very sorry for what happened, and officials were investigating who’s responsible for allowing Polk to become trapped, and failing to notice he had not signed out of the jail after coming to visit his son.
“Anyone that’s identified as failing to perform their job duties that precipitated this will be disciplined severely,” Smith said.
Smith said the jail has put more checks and balances in place to monitor visitors.