The parents of Glenn Foster Jr., a former New Orleans Saints player who died in police custody in Alabama this week, are accusing the Pickens County Sheriff's Department of failing to provide him with medical treatment while he was in jail.
“We asked them for him to have medical treatment and they denied him for two days," Foster Jr.'s mother, Sabrina Foster, told the Daily Beast. "I told them he has not eaten or [had] water and his organs could shut down, and they didn’t seem concerned."
Foster Jr., 31, was booked into the Pickens County jail on Saturday morning, after he allegedly tried to flee a traffic stop for speeding.
Following a chase, Foster Jr. was apprehended and charged by the police department in Reform, Alabama, with three counts of reckless endangerment, as well resisting arrest and attempting to elude.
The Reform police chief, Richard Black, told the Daily Beast that he was later contacted by Foster Jr.'s parents, who explained that their son had a mental health disorder and arranged to get him released on bond. However, when Black and Foster Jr.'s parents went to the jail to pick him up and take him to a treatment facility on Sunday, they were told he was facing new charges of assault and robbery filed by the Pickens County Sheriff's Department.
“At that time, something happened in the jail, I don’t know what, but they told me he could not be released because they had charges,” Chief Black told the Daily Beast, adding that the new charges had nothing to do with Foster Jr.'s initial arrest. “I have no idea what happened or what the charges stem from."
According to the Washington Post, a judge subsequently arranged for Foster Jr. to be taken to a mental health treatment facility on Monday.
"The sheriff’s office, tasked with transporting Foster Jr., told his family that there was no incident when he got into the police cruiser," the newspaper reports. "Yet, when he arrived at the medical facility, Foster Jr. was unresponsive and medical staff was unable to revive him, his father said."
Pickens County Sheriff Todd Hall declined to comment on Foster Jr.'s death because it's under investigation by the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation. The Daily Beast reports that "while the circumstances of Foster’s death were still coming into focus, there is a long history of people dying while jailed in Alabama, a state with a notorious penal system that disproportionately ensnares people of color."
"And while his own role in the Foster case was unclear, Sheriff Hall was personally sued this spring after he was alleged to be present for the fatal police shooting of mentally-ill Black man Wallace Wilder in Gordo in 2019," the site added.
Foster Jr.'s father, Glenn Foster Sr., told the Post that he was unable to visit his son in jail due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Since Friday night, my son, who needed medical treatment for his manic or bipolar episode, never received any treatment,” Foster Sr. said. “I don’t know what happened with him physically while he was in the jail because they wouldn’t let us see him.”
Foster Jr., who played two seasons in the NFL after being signed by the Saints in 2013, reportedly owned a granite countertop business with multiple stores in Louisiana. At the time of the traffic stop, he was on his way to Atlanta for business.
“All the good things that he did, it looks like the county sheriff is doing things to assassinate my son’s character — in addition to assassinating him because they never let him get the medical help that any human being deserves," Glenn Foster Sr. told the Post. "My son, instead of being dead in a morgue, should have been in a mental facility where they could have treated his mental illness. 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."