An autopsy performed on a former professional football player who was found dead in an Alabama jail earlier this month suggested that he may have been strangled or suffered trauma to his neck before he died in police custody, according to the legal team that has taken up his case.
Glenn Foster Jr. died on Dec. 6, two days after he was arrested for driving at a rate that was around double the 45 mph speed limit, according to statements from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. The 31-year-old former NFL player was charged with three counts of reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and attempt to elude.
Foster’s father told the Washington Post that his son had an “altercation” behind bars On Dec. 5 and was ultimately found unresponsive when the prisoner arrived at a different corrections facility where he was transported on Dec. 6.
Those reports suggest Foster may have simply had a jail fight. But civil rights attorney Ben Crump and the lawyers working with him on Foster’s case said that according to Dr. Michael Baden, an internationally renowned medical examiner who performed an independent autopsy, there could be more to the in-custody death.
“Glenn Foster Jr.’s death, while in the Pickens County Sheriff’s custody and care, was not from natural causes as the independent autopsy suggests there was some evidence of neck compressions and strangulation,” Crump, and co-counsels Diandra “Fu” Debrosse Zimmermann and Robert F. “Bobby” DiCello said in a statement emailed to NewsOne. “As we continue to investigate the case, we are learning that Mr. Foster’s death in Pickens County appears to be part of a disturbing trend of Black men dying while in the custody of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.”
Crump’s legal team also said they’re working to hold someone accountable for Foster’s death.
“Keeping people in your custody alive is literally the lowest bar we can set for a law enforcement agency, and is something that the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office failed to do. Pickens County owes the family the truth relating to Mr. Foster’s tragic death,” the statement continued. “These findings are deeply concerning and demand a full and transparent investigation into what happened to Glenn Foster Jr. and how he lost his life. We will not stop until we get answers and justice for Glenn, his family, and the community.”
Foster’s father said his son had previously experienced “manic” episodes and said his son was “uncooperative” and “not being reasonable” when they spoke on the phone while he was in jail.
Contrary to the attorneys’ statement, it’s not just Black men who are mysteriously turning up dead while in the custody of American law enforcement. Aside from the high-profile death of Sandra Bland, whose 2015 death in a Texas jail made international headlines for its stunning lack of accountability, there are too many other instances where Black women have suffered a similar fate.
It was only in July when a 23-year-old mother died after spending more than a month in an Indiana jail while being held on charges from an alleged robbery and high-speed chase. After being transferred to a hospital, Ta’Neasha Chappell was found dead and her “face was swollen and beaten,” Sam Aguiar, a Louisville-based attorney representing Chappell’s family, said at the time. “They won’t explain why they ignored Ta’Neasha’s medical needs during the 24 hours leading up to her death, despite her constant vomiting and rising fever,” added Aguiar, who was part of the legal team that helped secure Breonna Taylor’s family a record police settlement.