Everything We Know About the In-Custody Death of Former NFL Player Glenn Foster in West Alabama
The Chief of Police in Reform, Alabama has shed light on the circumstances leading up to the arrest and eventual death of Glenn Foster, Jr., a former NFL football player who died in police custody Monday.
News of Foster's death spread Tuesday afternoon when the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency confirmed that their State Bureau of Investigation was looking into the matter.
In a Tuesday press release, Reform Police Chief Richard Black said his officers, working with deputies of the Pickens County Sheriff's Office, were responsible for Foster's original arrest late Friday night.
HIGH-SPEED CHASE THROUGH PICKENS COUNTY
Black said Foster, a resident of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was driving through West Alabama just after 11 p.m. on Dec. 3 in a black 2020 Jeep Wrangler. An officer on routine patrol allegedly spotted Foster driving 92 miles per hour on a stretch of Highway 82 in Gordo where the speed limit was 45 miles per hour.
The officer attempted to pull Foster over, but he reportedly sped up and tried to flee. Pickens County Sheriff's deputies joined the pursuit, which took place at high speed on Highway 82 east that Friday night.
Chief Black said Foster sped toward Gordo, Alabama, and almost struck three civilian vehicles on the highway, including one car that was run off the road to avoid a head-on collision with the Jeep.
An officer from the Gordo Police Department reportedly deployed spike strips on the highway, which shredded Foster's tires and allowed officers to box him in on the road.
In a final attempt to escape arrest, Foster allegedly drove off the road, traveled through the parking lot of a pharmacy in Gordo and slammed into a metal rail surrounding a drainage ditch before coming to a stop.
ARREST AND BOOKING AT THE PICKENS COUNTY JAIL
Chief Black said Foster stepped out of the vehicle but refused to put his hands behind his back. He was reportedly "placed on the ground and handcuffed," and Black said officers "did not strike Foster, nor did they deploy pepper spray or Taser during the arrest."
An ambulance arrived, and medical crews assessed Foster's condition before clearing him to be booked in the Pickens County Jail, about 13 miles southwest of where the chase ended in Gordo.
Shortly after midnight Saturday, Foster was booked in the jail and charged with three counts of reckless endangerment and one count each of attempting to elude and resisting arrest. He was issued traffic citations for speeding, driving while suspended
and driving on the wrong side of the road.
Black said it was his officers that initially booked Foster, and although he did not cooperate with answering booking questions, there were no further physical altercations while Reform Police were present at the jail.
The next day, Black began working with Foster's family to advise them of his arrest and make arrangements to bond him out, but new problems were arising within the Pickens County Jail.
ROBBERY AND ASSAULT
According to new court documents filed early Wednesday morning, Foster assaulted three different people Saturday afternoon, about 13 hours after he was originally booked in the Pickens County Jail.
The trouble allegedly started at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, when Foster found another inmate asleep.
"Foster stood over him attempting to steal his socks before repeatedly striking [the victim] to the chest, rib cage, and abdomen area," according to the deposition.
The other inmate was reportedly transported to the Fayette Medical Center in Fayette, Alabama, which is part of the DCH System of hospitals in West Alabama. He was treated for "multiple bone bruises and swelling of his chest area as a result of the assault."
Shortly after the alleged attack, a PCSO deputy and a corrections officer at the jail tried to restrain Foster and get him handcuffed again.
According to charging documents, Foster actively fought with both men, and the deputy involved in the altercation suffered a cut on the bridge of his nose and another on his left hand.
The depositions do not describe how deputies and corrections officers got Foster under control again and what force, if any, they used against him.
Foster's family members arrived in Reform to meet with Chief Black the following day, on Sunday afternoon. They made bond for Foster, and a judge ordered that as a condition of his release, he be taken to UAB Hospital in Birmingham for medical assessment.
Chief Black and Foster's family traveled to the Pickens County Jail, where a deputy told them that they could not release Foster because the sheriff's office had placed a hold on him after the alleged robbery and assault.
Black said in a statement that he made contact with Todd Hall, the sheriff in Pickens County, but that Hall told him he would be unable to pick Foster up at that time.
Chief Black said that call, made at 3:15 p.m. Sunday, was the last involvement the Reform Police Department had in this case, and from that time on, Foster was in the custody of the Pickens County Sheriff's Office.
"The Reform Police Department does not have any knowledge of the facts after Foster was bonded out for the Reform Police Department," Black said.
DEATH IN NORTHPORT
There is a significant vacuum of information about what happened after Foster's alleged altercations within the jail. Court records and information from the sheriff's office show he was charged with four new crimes – one count of third-degree robbery and three counts of second-degree assault.
The next day, Foster was dead. His cause of death is still under investigation.
“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,” Chief Black said. “Mr. Foster was not in the custody of Reform Police Department at the time of his death. Any questions about the facts and circumstances surrounding this very unfortunate incident can be referred to the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation or the Pickens County Sheriff.”
Sheriff Todd Hall has not released any official statements about the case or returned calls from the Tuscaloosa Thread seeking more information.
An ALEA spokesperson issued a press release Tuesday afternoon saying that on Monday, state investigators were made aware of an in-custody death of a suspect in the custody of the sheriff's office.
According to ALEA, the death was reported at a medical facility in Northport, Alabama, here in Tuscaloosa County.
Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation confirmed the victim was 31-year-old Glenn Foster, Jr., and said his body has been released to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for further investigation.
According to ALEA, SBI detectives will work the case and when the investigation is complete, they will turn their findings over to Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Hays Webb, who will determine if any criminal charges are warranted.
This is a developing story involving two police departments, a sheriff's office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and more. Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for more information as it becomes available.