Father of former NFL player who died in police custody says his son may have had a manic episode
Wilfredo Lee/AP

Father of former NFL player who died in police custody says his son may have had a manic episode

Former NFL player Glenn Foster Jr. may have been going through a manic episode in the days leading up to his arrest and was acting strangely during a recent phone call, his father told CNN.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Glenn Foster Sr. said that he last spoke to his son by phone on Friday, the day before Foster Jr. was arrested in western Alabama. The 31-year-old died Monday at a medical facility north of Tuscaloosa, according to a statement from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), which is now investigating the incident.

In their conversation, Foster Sr. said his son was being “uncooperative” and “not being reasonable.” He did not elaborate on what Foster Jr. was being uncooperative about.

“You could tell he was not his normal self,” Foster Sr. said, telling CNN that his son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and previously had a manic episode during college.

CNN was not told when Foster Jr. was diagnosed, but NOLA.com reports it was when he was about 20 years old.

“He was in mental distress. We could see he was not in the best frame of mind, and we indicated that to the police chief,” Foster Sr. said about his conversation with Reform, Alabama, Police Chief Richard Black over the weekend.

State authorities are investigating the death of the former New Orleans Saints player two days after he was taken into police custody. Foster Jr. played as a defensive lineman for the Saints in 2013 and for part of the 2014 season, according to NFL.com.

Foster was arrested on Saturday after officers spotted him driving up to 90 mph in a 45-mph zone, Black told NOLA.com.

A high-speed chase between Foster and police ensued, with a spike strip being used to slow Foster’s car before officers arrested him, Black told NOLA.com.

Foster was headed to Atlanta for a business trip, his father told The Washington Post.

Jail records from Pickens County show that Foster was booked Saturday on three counts of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and attempt to elude.

Foster’s family was informed of his arrest Saturday and they told Black about his mental health struggles, Foster Sr. told the Post.

The police chief told NOLA.com he contacted Foster’s family because of his concern about the former player’s erratic behavior and made an arrangement for them to bail him out of prison and have him sent to a local hospital for evaluation.

Foster Sr. said the family arrived at the jail on December 5 to transport their son with a police escort to Alabama Birmingham Medical Center to seek medical treatment.

But when they arrived they were told Foster had been involved in an “altercation” with another inmate and was placed under the jurisdiction of the sheriff’s office, the Post reported.

He was released at 3:14 p.m. on Sunday and re-booked two minutes later, jail records show, on three counts of simple assault and one count of third-degree robbery.

The family was told they couldn’t visit Foster due to Covid-19 restrictions, according to the Post.

“The sheriff, after the altercation in jail, said he’s not going anywhere,” Foster Sr. told CNN. “I think my son would be alive today if he had received the treatment he needed.”

CNN reached out to the sheriff’s office for comment but has not heard back.

Arrangements were made for Foster to be taken to another facility Monday, Foster Sr. said, and the sheriff’s office, which was in charge of transporting Foster, told the family he got into the cruiser without incident.

But when he arrived at the medical facility, Foster was unresponsive and couldn’t be revived, the Post reported.

“He arrived to his death,” Foster Sr. told the newspaper. “I don’t know what happened with him physically while he was in the jail because they wouldn’t let us see him.”

His mother, Sabrina Foster, told NOLA.com, “I can’t get my son back, but we want whoever is responsible to pay for this.”

‘We haven’t been told anything’

Foster Sr. says the family has not been informed regarding Foster Jr.’s cause of death, but has been told by police an autopsy has been performed.

“We haven’t been told anything. I don’t know if they beat my son to death or what? Did he succumb to his injuries or something? We just have no idea because [the sheriff’s office] aren’t saying anything,” Foster Sr. told CNN.

The ALEA has not released additional information on the circumstances of Foster’s death, but the agency did say in a statement his body was released to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences.

Cause of death not released

The Pickens County coroner declined to disclose the cause of death when asked on Wednesday.

“We are referring all questions and comments to (the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency,)” Coroner Chad Harless told CNN when reached by phone.

According to an ALEA news release on Tuesday, Foster died Monday at a medical facility in Northport. ALEA Trooper Senior Reginal King told CNN by phone “there is still no cause of death.”

The statement said, “nothing further is available as the investigation is ongoing. Once complete, the findings will be turned over to the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office.”

This is an ongoing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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