Jail Guards Accuse Man Begging For Help Of Faking Allergic Reaction, Man Dies

Chris | InformationLiberation
Oct. 18, 2012

KATU reports:
EVERETT, Wash. -- Rose Saffioti was sure she was doing the right thing when she encouraged her son to turn himself over to police.

An arrest warrant for Michael Saffioti had been issued after he missed a court date. But after one night in jail, he was dead.

Now Snohomish County could face a lawsuit over a food allergy that may have been ignored.

Michael Saffioti knew dairy could kill him. He grew up reading labels and carrying medication, and still suffered severe reactions whenever he was merely near dairy protein. The stress made him anxious to the point of needing medication.

"Ultimately, he found and thought he was better functioning using marijuana," said his mother.

Michael did not have a medical marijuana prescription, and his use put him in and out of the legal system. In the most recent incident, he and his mother went to police, armed with his medical history after he had missed a court date.

"I wanted Michael held accountable for his legal issues and I insisted on it. But I didn't want him to die," said Rose.

After eating oatmeal in jail, Michael couldn't breathe. Other inmates say Michael begged for help and was accused of faking it. The autopsy found his severe reaction to milk products contributed to his death.

"You can't get help. You can't call 911. You're at their complete mercy," said Anne Bremner, an attorney representing the Saffioti family. "When the jail's the one that gives you something that's going to kill you -- that they know is going to kill you -- they, at a minimum, have to rescue you. And they didn't."
This man died due to 21st century prohibition, plain and simple. If his drug of choice was alcohol he could have drank himself to death with the government's stamp of approval, instead he chose a healthier drug and was imprisoned and killed as a result.

A similar incident happened last year in Florida, Eric Perez, 18, a teenager jailed for "riding his bike without a nightlight," vomited repeatedly in his cell and screamed that his head hurt, he eventually died in his cell after vocally suffering for six hours. Other young inmates tried to get him help to no avail. One of the guards allegedly wanted to call 911 to get him medical attention, but was told not to by his supervisor.
...guard Floyd Powell, 35, told The Miami Herald on Monday he was fired after he disclosed to investigators that he was forbidden to call 911 when he became concerned for the teen, who was screaming that his head hurt and had vomited for several hours.

"I was going to call 911, but my supervisor looked at me in the face and said, 'He'll be fine. Don't call 911,'" Powell said.
Last year, another young man, Derek Williams was also caught in a similar situation, he was arrested by police and begged the officer who detained him to get him medical attention because he was having trouble breathing, the officer did not believe him, and in fact mocked him as he died. His tragic death, along with the officer's callous mocking, was caught on video, and after outrage and media attention the medical examiner was forced to revisit the case and ruled his death was a homicide.
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