Widow of man who died while being released from Cook County Jail sues county for denying him wheelchair, medicine

By Jonathan Bilyk | Apr 27, 2015


The widow of a man who died at the Cook County Jail last spring while he was in the process of being released on bond has sued the county and the sheriff’s office, alleging jail officials contributed to his death by refusing to provide the man with a wheelchair and certain medications despite the man’s “well-documented history of heart problems and strokes.”

Gina Polo filed the wrongful death suit in federal court in Chicago on April 24 on behalf of her deceased husband, Daniel Paredes, against Cook County, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and certain John Does who work at the jail.

In the eight-count complaint, Polo, who is represented in the action by attorney Anthony J. Peraica, of Chicago, has requested at least $100,000 in damages for seven of the counts against the county, its officials and workers in connection with the May 14, 2014, death of Paredes.

The case centers on the treatment Paredes received while in custody at the Cook County Jail in the spring of 2014.

Paredes, 49, of Elmwood Park, had been arrested April 3 on drug delivery charges. He was taken to the jail to await further proceedings.

According to the complaint, Paredes, his wife and his lawyer asked the jail to provide him with a wheelchair and provide him with prescription medications he was taking to treat his conditions. However, in the complaint, Polo alleges those requests were either ignored or refused.

According to the complaint, Paredes’ lawyer told a judge this condition required him to be carried from place to place within the jail, or essentially left him confined to his cell while in custody.

At times, however, Paredes’ lawyer said jail officials and workers “forced (him) to walk to meet with his attorney or attend court.”

On May 14, 2014, a judge, citing Paredes’ medical conditions, reduced his bond to $20,000, with $2,000 to apply, allowing Polo to post the bond.

However, the complaint alleges jail workers “made Paredes walk for 15 minutes that day without any assistance.”

According to published reports of the incident, a spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said Paredes was in a holding cell in the jail’s discharge area when he slumped over and became unresponsive. He was taken to Saint Anthony Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly before 11 p.m.

The complaint alleges his physical ailment and lack of medication contributed as a cause of his death. Since those medications were allegedly denied him, and since jail workers allegedly forced him to walk, Polo argues the jail should be held liable for his death.

She said the jail officials’ “willful and wanton actions,” including “failing to administer Paredes’ medications, failing to provide him with a wheelchair, then forcing him to walk, further deprived Paredes of his fundamental right to life.”

Polo further asked the court to compel Cook County to pay all non-punitive damages ordered against the jail workers.

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