Glenn Foster Jr., former NFL player for the New Orleans Saints, has died in police custody in Alabama according to his family. Nola.com reported the 31-year-old was involved in a high-speed chase with law enforcement that ended with a crash, and once in custody, he got into a physical fight with another detainee that had to be stopped by two guards. He died while still in custody at a local sheriff’s office on Monday (Dec. 6), two days after police in Reform, Ala., initially placed him under arrest.
As of Tuesday, the Pickens County Medical Examiner & Coroner’s Office confirmed Foster’s autopsy was pending, and a cause of death was not immediately available. His family members believe officials delayed potentially life-saving care for him knowing he experienced physical altercations and seemed to be going through a mental health crisis. Foster had received a bipolar disorder diagnosis 10 years ago.
“I can’t get my son back, but we want whoever is responsible to pay for this,” said his mother Sabrina Foster.
According to Chief Richard Black, officers pursued Foster after witnessing him driving 90 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone. A chase was initiated and officers from the neighboring town of Gordo joined in. Police placed spike strips down in an effort to end the chase. Once stopped, Foster and officers had what is described as a “small, minor tussle” before he was arrested and booked on counts of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, and attempting to elude police.
Black said he spoke with Foster’s parents on the next day to make arrangements to bail him out of jail and have him taken to a hospital in Birmingham for evaluation. The family arrived on Sunday (Dec. 5) and Black had called a judge who allowed the family to post a $500 cash bail. As they awaited his release, Black said “something happened.”
“We went to bond him out and something happened at the jail and they wouldn’t let us get him,” Black said. “I really don’t know medically what was going on, but based on what I learned, it was not normal.”
According to Nola.com, jail records show that after the bond was paid for the traffic misdemeanors, Foster was re-booked and additionally charged with three felony counts of assault and one of third-degree battery and being held without bail through Monday.
A judge found Foster “not mentally stable and a danger to himself and others” that afternoon the Associated Press reported.
Woke up to Sad News! Was just talking to you after we played LSU! You accomplished great things in this life and was on yo way to do more!
Gone miss you my dog Glenn Foster Jr. Praying for your Wife, kids & family! #MCFamily
Love u bro, Life too Short ??✊?? #RestUp pic.twitter.com/zy11X47BP9
— Arthur L.A. Ray (@CoachLA73) December 7, 2021
“What happened?” his father, Glenn Foster Sr. remarked to The Washington Post. He shared his son was traveling to Atlanta for a business trip when the alleged traffic violations occurred. “We know nothing because we didn’t have access to our son. We never got the chance to see him.”
According to Foster Sr., he and his family explained to Black that his son had a manic episode in college and again recently and was in need of medical treatment for his mental health, not jail time. The family was told they were unable to see Foster while he was behind bars due to COVID-19 restrictions. On Monday, Foster was transported in a police cruiser from the facility to a hospital about 30 minutes away, where he arrived unresponsive and medical professionals were unable to revive him.
“All the good things that he did, it looks like the county sheriff is doing things to assassinate my son’s character,” said Foster Sr. “In addition to assassinating him because they never let him get the medical help that any human being deserves.”
“My son, instead of being dead in a morgue, should have been in a mental facility where they could have treated his mental illness,” Foster Sr. continued. “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.”
No words right now. Rest Powerfully, Little Brother. From Chicago to Champaign to New Orleans. You left your mark everywhere you went. Glenn Foster, we love you bruh. pic.twitter.com/zvQN2TxkJ5
— Rep. Kam Buckner (@RepKamBuckner) December 7, 2021
Glenn Foster Jr. began his career in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints in 2013 as an undrafted rookie coming out of the University of Illinois. During New Orleans’ preseason of the same year, he led the team in quarterback sacks and hits and earned a spot on the team for the regular season. He was injured during the 2014 season and was cut before the 2015 preseason began.
From there, he remained in Louisiana working as a contractor, developer, real estate agent, and business owner. Foster frequently traveled back to the midwest to speak to students at his Chicago-area alma mater Mount Carmel High School about his journey to professional sports and continuing even after being cut when he first tried out for football.