VIDEO: Officers Ignore Man As He Dies From Severe Allergic Attack In Jail Cell

By: Kristin Tate
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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.

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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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Kristin Tate is a multi-media reporter for Breitbart News and BenSwann.com. Dedicated to fearless journalism, she regularly works on undercover stings with James O'Keefe to reveal government waste, abuse, and fraud. Tate was a Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) Chapter President and Founder. She will continue to fight tirelessly for individual liberty and free markets through new media. Visit Kristin's website at www.TheLibertarianChick.com.
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  • Andre

    Mom was dumb for telling him to turn himself in. Marijuana shouldn’t even be illegal.

    • Tom223

      The mom had the right idea but the wrong method was used. He would have been better served by going to an attorney. Or even going to the court clerk to get a court date.

  • Russ L. Smith

    So why was he processed into the main part of the jail for possession? It seems they should just hold him until arraignment. He should have visited an attorney before turning himself in. It would have been an in and out thing awaiting a trial date. This is really tragic and has to stop with criminalizing decent people.

    • Ognol Longo

      lawyers do not help… its all theatrics and they’re all buddies with each other and the judge.. They don’t give a rats ass about anyone

  • Gil Lopez

    huge bummer :(

  • Brook Perkins

    Do did this guys posses marijuana and decide to turn himself in or did he have a warrant for his arrest or something? I thought possession of marijuana was legal in Washington.

    • IdahoLibertarian

      This story is dated July 2012; Marijuana was legalized in Washington state in November 2012.

  • Target4Tyrants

    Another beautiful human being killed by the ignorance of society trying to criminalize god given rights.
    The picture of the victim is heart breaking knowing he tried to get help and they ignored him on purpose~

  • alabubba

    NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE

    • Albert

      Not even negligent. It would be negligent if the officers had not been able to foresee it. And it is plainly clear that that was not the case here. This was willful homicide, and I think that the officers involved should be executed for it.

  • Andrew

    If he was no career criminal, why was he in jail before as the video claims, and the jail should have had a medical record on him…….I’m not co-signing this for anyone. There is a dead young man and this should have not happened, but I’d just asking questions from the information I’m given

  • Alex

    Yet another case of Democide – death by Government.

  • Kris

    snohomish county has had a nasty reputation for years-the cops there are rude & some of their methods have been questioned before. Part of the problem is they just don’t seem to give a cr*p what the citizens who pay their wages think.

  • Jessie FixesIt

    sounds more like cruel and unsusual punishment.. could’ve swore there was something about that kind of thing in the Constitution…oh well, who the hell cares about what that out-dated piece of paper says these days anyway?!

  • http://joestauffacher.com/ Joe Stauffacher

    He turned himself in for a possession charge or he was on the run for something larger? What a bizarre incident.

  • Tom223

    I don’t know how it works in Washington but had he been in California he probably could have just gone to the court clerk and gotten a court date. They almost never arrest anyone at the court clerk’s office regardless of having an outstanding warrant. He could probably also have had an attorney arrange a court date as well.
    Very sorry for the mom who did suggest the right thing but the way it was done in this case was fatal. 10 million isn’t enough. It should be100 million. Bankrupt the city and maybe then the voters will elect politicians who will clean up the act of the police.
    The people involved in his death should all be charged with manslaughter at the least. Or perhaps criminal negligence.
    I volunteer in the local county jail and although the vast majority of guards are decent people and do a good job despite having their humanity challenged by inmates day in and day out. Some are down right hateful and nasty and have no business being in charge of inmates – who by the way are human beings and not animals to be abused.

  • Tom223

    Kristen,
    You do a good job of finding this sort of story. Please keep track of them and give an update article when a major change happens or it concludes. Such as when a cop loses his job or goes to jail etc.
    The true value of news is to inform so that things can be made better. Otherwise what’s the point? Just to gain attention – perhaps, but that is a lower level purpose.

  • HisMajestyOKeefe

    jails are dangerous places, and gun free zones. With the most powerful restrictions the state can come up with people are murdered and raped in jail everyday, lost the son of a friend who was raped in jail, a year later he killed himself

    • Tom223

      Prison rape is an inexcusable activity. I do know that in my county there are over 400 jail staff and related service personnel who have just undergone training on the “Prison Rape Elimination Act”.

      http://www.prearesourcecenter.org/about/prison-rape-elimination-act-prea

      It’s good to see this subject getting attention and emphasis. At least locally they are serious about implementing this law.

  • Kenneth Karolchik-Griffin

    police the worst scum on earth.

    • Tom223

      Like with any group it only takes a minority of that group to give the rest a bad name. I am not part of law enforcement but I do get to see activity from within the local jail an the vast majority of them do a good job under difficult circumstances. Most inmates are pretty decent people, despite some major flaw. It is just as easy for a guard to think of all inmates in terms of the worst.

    • sharonhansen209

      We recently lost a young police officer in our town who grew up here, served in the military, and was known and liked by all who knew him. He was our K-9 officer and I had occasion to meet him when I complained about a neighbor who would chain his dog up all day and the dog was barking all day. He was one of the kindest persons I’ve ever met. So please, don’t say that police are the worst scum of the earth. People who work in jails and prisons are not police officers. The officer’s partner was also killed – his K9 partner.

  • Temper

    Police – a bunch of power tripping bastards that are far worse than ANY CRIMINAL EVER..

    • Tom223

      Understood sentiment but a bit of an overstatement. I think Sharon Tate might agree..

  • Richard W.

    I am sure the police were only doing what they are trained to do…protect themselves above all else.

    • Kaili

      So letting someone die for no reason is what they’re trained to do? you sir, are an idiot.

  • Madworld Matt

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Justice-for-Michael-Saffioti/655303431186939?ref=hl

    You can like Michael’s facebook page by clicking on this link.

  • Waldetto

    At least the state now has it’s first “marijuana death” they can point to when telling us how bad it is!

    • Kaili

      It’s not a “marijuana death”. you have any idea how stupid this makes you look?

      • Kirk

        Zulu, set sarcasm filter to off.

        Yes captain. Starship Kaili can no longer detect sarcasm, not even if it’s obvious and as close as one parsec.

  • Gregory Alan of Johnson

    No one should EVER volunteer to go to jail, even at the point of a gun.

  • dozr

    all of the officers and staff involved in this should be shown a cot to stay in for a good long time.

  • Brimstone Hill

    What was this man charged with to begin with? Was it some POT? Did anything that he was charged with amount to his death? If you are a juror and you think the law sucks………..nullify it………..not guilty…………tell your legislator that pot is not a crime punishable by death…….your grandkids will thank you………

  • Steve

    I thought that pot was legal in Washington and Colorado. I’m in Colorado right now and it’s definitely legal here. I thought that Washington state made it legal too. So why the possession charge? Did he get it right before the law went into effect?

    • Kaili

      This was before it became legal if you read the date…..

  • tick tack

    Here is another reason why you should never ever ever trust a cop. so much corruption and they don’t get in truoble.

  • Sandee

    For some reason, when somebody is put in jail, he is no longer a human being. He is less than an animal or a plant. Even rocks get more respect. When you are under custody or in jail, you are worse than dead. The dead get more respect. They even get some kind of forgiveness in some people’s heart, where forgiveness is born and lives. Not everybody who breaks a law is a criminal. Some laws are unjust, how can breaking them merit any punishment?
    $10 million is not painful enough to the police department who caused this unnecessary death.

  • Cheryl Newcomb

    My God, this story is truly tragic. My heart goes out to his Mom and family. How could this kind of behavior take place? Has everyone lost their compassion and humanity?? Thoroughly senseless death of a young man.

  • roadmutt

    coming from someone who has been in jail in wa and ca for minimal issues numerous times (unfortunately) sadly this is not a NEW thing these idiots dont give 2 shits about medications currently prescribed or allergies or really anything they make money from you sitting their and thats all they care about your a number more people need to put forth the effort to expose how badly people are mistreated for stupid non criminal minor offenses

  • Mike Davis

    Jail guards regularly deprive inmates of medications and proper food.

    I spent a brief 12 hours in a holding cell awaiting a hearing that was intended for someone with the same name as me (but 20 years younger). In that time, they almost managed to put me in a coma. I informed the guards that I needed my medication and they basically told me too bad I should have thought of that before I committed a crime. After I was released at the hearing, I had to go straight to the ER and had $700+ bills as a result of their arrogance and ignorance.

    These guards should be in PRISON for many years for this. He informed them that he was having a potentially life threatening reaction and they locked him in his cell. They should be charged with murder plain and simple.

    • sharonhansen209

      Agree. I worked for a short time at a prison. I came on duty one day to find an inmate who regularly visited with me (a known brittle diabetic who was in the hospital wing for that reason), was telling the day nurse that he was sick. She informed me he was faking. When she left, I went over to his cell and he would not come to the door to talk to me. He always would come to the door to talk to me. I called for a guard to let me into his cell. His blood sugar was over 500. He apologized when I went into his cell because he had vomited on the floor and he wanted to warn me so I would not slip and fall. I called the ER physician. He came immediately. We got the inmate on an insulin drip and I watched him through my shift. In the morning, the doctor told me that I probably saved this inmate’s life. Because of the attitude of staff who had worked there for many years and never believed anything an inmate told them, I think that doctor was correct.

  • intelligent

    This is a picture of a truly, “young man”, doesnt look like he could hurt a fly. Obviously a guy who is willing to turn himself into the police department because of a minor marijuana charge……doesnt seem like your regular street thug.

    This is like a goody tooshos boy at school who tells the teacher he did something wrong because he actually has a conscience.

    Very sad….our jail system is meant to breed criminality…not solve it.