Witnesses: Jail guards mocked dying inmate

Witnesses: Jail guards mocked dying inmate »Play Video
Michael Saffioti
EVERETT, Wash.-- Rose Saffioti is trying to make the best of Friday night. She's keeping busy at her family restaurant along Mukilteo speedway, but mostly, she's thinking of her son Michael.

"When I have to sleep at night, and close my eyes, it's hard," she said. "Believe me, when I got the call that my son was dead -- I couldn't even -- like, why? Something was wrong."

Earlier this year, Michael went to the Snohomish County jail for one night. He had missed a court date and turned himself in.

He was asthmatic, had anxiety problems and self-medicated with marijuana to calm down. But he didn't have a medical card and it got him into trouble.

Michael was also acutely allergic to dairy. And that early morning changed everything.

"It was really hard to hear," Saffioti said.

In newly-released witness statements from other inmates, Saffioti's legal team alleges Michael was fed oatmeal that contained milk.
He became violently ill.

Witnesses claim that Michael turned on his cell's emergency light as he and inmates begged for help and pounded on doors to get attention. They believed the allergic attack was preventable -- and got mocked.

"And saying you're faking it? 'Shut up, you're going to the hole'? That to me is negligence," Saffioti said.

Michael Saffioti went into jail for one day and never made it out alive.

Rose says she armed the county with Michael's medical needs and was ignored.

"He tried to advocate for himself as far as allergies go and they just didn't take him seriously," Saffioti said.

So she's prepared to sue, barring the outcome of the county's investigation. The Sheriff's Office said the review is still being finalized and expect to release the full report in a matter of days.

But for Saffioti, it's another Friday night shift at the restaurant. Another night without all the answers.

"I want to know who dropped the ball," she said.