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Attorney: Man trapped in jail feared death

Father locked in visiting room for 30 hours

Published: Saturday, July 12, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO (AP) – A man who was trapped in a Cook County Jail visiting room for about 30 hours last weekend tried everything from yelling and kicking to get someone’s attention to using a key to try to force a glass piece in a door out, his attorney said.

None of that worked for 51-year-old Farad Polk, attorney Michael Richmond said Thursday, leaving Polk to wonder whether he would be freed before he died.

“He kicked the door so much he couldn’t kick any longer because his foot was sore,” Richmond told the Chicago Sun-Times. “At one point, he thought he heard voices, but no one came.”

Polk became trapped in the room late in the day on July 5 and wasn’t found and freed until early on Monday, 2 days later. He was at the jail to visit his son.

Jail Executive Director Cara Smith said Polk walked into the wrong room, and the door closed behind him. Polk couldn’t be heard outside the room because the walls and door are too thick, she said.

“While we thank God he’s safe, we’re looking at every single aspect of this case,” Smith said. “This has never happened, to my knowledge, before.”

Richmond has filed a court petition seeking surveillance footage and witness statements. The petition, though not a lawsuit, claims Polk suffered “extreme mental anguish” while being without food, water or access to a restroom.

Richmond said Polk is not yet ready to talk about the events himself.

Polk eventually tried to use the key to cut around the edges of the glass partition, but that didn’t work, Richmond said. Later, Polk was able to force a fire sprinkler on, climbing on top of a counter to wait as the water flowed.

“Water was gushing out and started to fill the room,” Richmond said.

The sprinkler alerted firefighters, who freed Polk about 1:30 a.m. Monday.

Polk cut a thumb and was later taken to a hospital, where he received three stitches, Richmond said.

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