Ex-NFL Player Glenn Foster Jr. Died in Police Custody and No One Knows Why

If Alabama law enforcement knows how Glenn Foster Jr. died, they’re not explaining why.
Defensive end Glenn Foster #97 of the New Orleans Saints takes the field before the start of the Saints and New England Patriots game at Gillette Stadium on October 13, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

A former NFL player died while in police custody in Alabama, and somehow no one knows exactly how it happened. And if law enforcement does, they haven’t explained.

Glenn Foster Jr., a 31-year-old former defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, was unresponsive while being taken to the local hospital Monday after a short stint at a jail in Pickens County, Alabama. He was eventually pronounced dead. 

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Neither the Reform Police Department—which had arrested him three days earlier—nor the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department—whose custody he was in when he died—have explained what happened. And the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation could only tell VICE News that it’s currently investigating.

“We want justice for our son,” said Glenn Foster Sr., the football player’s father told news outlet NOLA.com. “It’s unfair. It’s inhumane. It’s just not right.”

Foster Jr. had been taken to Pickens County Jail Friday in Reform, Alabama, following an arrest for driving at 92 mph in a 45 mph zone, according to a press release from the Reform Police Department. He allegedly fled from police and had to be stopped with a spike strip. He was charged with ​​reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, and attempting to elude police, according to police. Police also said that Foster Jr. had been acting erratically while in their custody.

On Saturday, police say they contacted Foster Sr., who told the department, according to NOLA.com, that his son had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of twenty, and—despite having his mental health issues mostly under control for the last 11 years—had just recently experienced a manic episode. 

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Police agreed that medical treatment would be best for Foster Jr., according to local news reports. When bail was posted by the family, the department moved to have him transferred to a hospital in Birmingham on Sunday.

When the family showed up, however, they were told Foster Jr. was involved in a scuffle with another person at the jail and as a result, was rebooked just two minutes after he was “released” on bond, according to Reform police. 

This time, Foster Jr. was charged with three counts of simple assault and one count of third-degree robbery and was being held without bail by the Pickens County Sheriff’s office. 

Richard Black, the chief of the Reform Police Department, was told that after the new charges were brought up, Foster jr. would now be taken into the custody of Picken County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Reform police. 

Black gave the Foster family contact information for the sheriff’s office and wasn’t involved in his arrest from then on, according to the department. Unfortunately, the family’s attempts to have their loved one released were not successful, according to NOLA.com, and they weren’t allowed to see him on due to COVID-19 restrictions at the facility.

The following day, Pickens County Sheriff’s officers attempted to transfer Foster Jr. to a Northport, Alabama, facility just 30 minutes away via a police cruiser, instead of the facility in Birmingham via an ambulance as originally planned, according to NOLA.com.

But when the former football player arrived at the hospital, he was unresponsive and pronounced dead shortly afterward.

So far, no explanations have been offered for Foster Jr.’s sudden death. Chief Black told VICE News that everything his department knows about Foster’s arrest is included in the press release they shared with the public.

“The thoughts and prayers of the entire Reform Police Department are with the family of Mr. Foster, his wife, Pam, Mr. Foster’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Foster Sr. and Foster’s dedicated cousin and his wife,” Black said in a written statement Tuesday.

His father told the Washington Post that the sheriff’s office is ultimately responsible since they were aware that his son needed medical attention but chose to delay treatment for as long as they did.

“My son, instead of being dead in a morgue, should have been in a mental facility where they could have treated his mental illness,” he told the Post. “Now the fruit has fallen from the tree. Once it’s on the ground you can’t put it back. That’s what they’ve done. They snatched the life of my son."

When reached for comment, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, which has no public statement available on its website, directed VICE News to the state’s bureau of investigation. The office, however, has released new, unrelated press releases as recently as Tuesday.

Foster’s body has since been released to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation told VICE News. The bureau said they would have no further information regarding the young man’s death until the investigation is complete.

“Once complete, the findings will be turned over to the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office,” an agency spokesperson said.

Foster Sr. that the family will seek an independent autopsy to find out what ultimately happened to their loved one, according to NOLA.com.

Foster Jr., a graduate from the University of Illinois, played professional football from 2013 to 2015. After his football career, Foster Jr. worked as a contractor, developer and real estate agent, according to NOLA.com, before starting his own granite countertop business based out of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He was a married father of four.

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