On July 3, 2012, 22-year-old Michael Saffioti turned himself in for a marijuana possession charge in Washington state.
He was reluctant to do so but his mother, Rose Saffioti, convinced him that it was the right thing to do and that he would be out of jail the next day.
Little did Rose know, her son would be dead less than 24 hours later.
Unsettling video footage shows Michael Saffioti dying from an allergic reaction in his jail cell, as jail guards repeatedly ignored his pleas for help.
The morning of his death, Saffioti was fed a breakfast of oatmeal and milk at the jail. The 22-year-old was very aware of his extreme dairy allergies and always took extra precautions. He was skeptical of the oatmeal breakfast served to him, but officers assured him that the food was safe to eat despite his allergies.
The officers were wrong.
Just minutes after eating the oatmeal, Saffioti began having a severe allergic attack, brought on by the dairy he had consumed. He then went to the guard’s desk and used his inhaler. As his attack worsened, Saffioti asked to see a nurse. Instead, he was sent to his jail cell where his repeated pleas for help were ignored.
About 30 minutes later Saffioti was found unconscious in his cell. He was subsequently brought to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Rose Saffioti is heartbroken and furious over Michael’s death. “He said, ‘Mom, I have a bad feeling that they are not going to take me seriously,’” Rose said. Now she realizes her son was right.
Now she is suing the county for $10 million.
The lawyer representing Rose Saffioti, Cheryl Snow, said, “Our theory is that they absolutely knew about Michael’s medical needs. We know that he asked questions and made inquiries and he was assured the oatmeal in the food was safe for eating.”
Snow had to file a complaint in order to view the footage of the incident, which officials initially claimed did not exist.
“The video shows that Michael made his needs apparent. His needs were ignored,” Snow said.
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