When DeQuita Broady read about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of former NFL lineman Glenn Foster Jr. in the custody of the Pickens County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office this week, the first thing she thought about was her brother.
“It just clicked and made me think about him,” she told The Daily Beast. “That is the same thing that happened.”
According to Broady, 31, her brother, Michael Broady Jr., died on Aug. 22, 2021, after an interaction with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. Broady and her attorney, Johnathan Austin, claim Michael, 40, was found unresponsive at the Sheriff’s Office after having been arrested for an unknown offense. They said they filed a Notice of Claim—a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Beast—in September to that effect.
The Notice of Claim alleges that Michael was tased in the incident. Broady said Sheriff Todd Hall later told her that her brother was found unresponsive upon arrival at the county jail and pronounced dead after failed efforts to revive him.
The story is full of uncertainty, Broady said, because the Sheriff’s Office has refused to provide them with any police reports or body-camera footage.
Although she said she viewed her brother’s body and saw what she believed to be taser marks, she said her family has yet to receive a death certificate or an autopsy report because the incident is being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation in Alabama.
Hall, when reached by The Daily Beast, declined to comment, but confirmed that a state investigation was ongoing.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, the State Bureau of Investigation said that it was investigating Broady’s Aug. 22 death at the request of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office. The agency said the “in-custody” death involved officers with the Reform Police Department, the Gordo Police Department, the Carrollton Police Department, and the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office.
The agency did not answer further questions, as the investigation was still ongoing. Findings will be turned over to the Pickens County District Attorney’s Office.
The Reform Police Department, Gordo Police Department, and Carrollton Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Pickens County Coroner and Medical Examiner’s Office also did not respond to a request for comment.
“It’s not adding up to me,” Broady said about the lack of basic information three months after her brother’s death, the circumstances of which The Daily Beast could not independently verify.
She said she was aware of her brother having a warrant for his arrest in Lamar County related to child support. Although she acknowledged her brother had previous interactions with law enforcement and arrests in the past, she said Broady Jr. was not a violent person.
She claimed eyewitnesses told her that her brother was already handcuffed when he was tased “continuously” by multiple officers.
She said she also had questions about when he became unresponsive. “If you saw that he was unresponsive in the police car, why did you not stop and call 911?”
The only shred of information Broady can point to about the incident, she said, is a tiny news item published two days after her brother’s death by WCBI, a local CBS affiliate, which did not mention his name but reported that a man had died in the “custody” of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 22.
“I want justice,” Broady said. “I want my brother’s story to get out because I don’t want this to happen to another African American man. It’s not right.”
In September, Broady said, she sent the Notice of Claim to Pickens County regarding her brother’s death and demanded more answers about any other agencies that may have been involved in his initial arrest and his death in custody.
Broady and Austin, a civil-rights lawyer who has handled previous cases of alleged police misconduct against Black people in Pickens County, said they were saddened to hear about the death of Foster Jr. on Monday.
Foster, a former defensive lineman for the New Orleans Saints, died this week after being arrested in Alabama. He was allegedly denied medical care in a case that has placed the county of less than 20,000 under intense scrutiny.
The ex-athlete was initially arrested on Dec. 4, after a reported high-speed chase with authorities. After he spent a day in the county jail, Foster’s parents became concerned with his mental state.
In an interview with CNN, Foster’s father, Glenn Foster Sr., said his son was bipolar and in “mental distress” before his arrest and during his stay in the jail, and that the family had communicated that to authorities.
By Dec. 5, Foster was set to be released from the county jail, but was re-booked after an alleged fight involving another inmate and two law-enforcement officers, court records show. Questions about Foster’s mental state were raised by a judge during a hearing on Dec. 6, when it was ordered that he receive medical attention.
Foster’s mother, Sabrina, previously told The Daily Beast her son “died in custody after being denied medical treatment” by local law enforcement. She went on to say: “We asked them for him to have medical treatment and they denied him for two days. I told them he has not eaten or [had] water and his organs could shut down, and they didn’t seem concerned.”
Foster Sr. told The Washington Post that the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office transported Foster to a medical facility, but that when he arrived he was unresponsive.
The State Bureau of Investigation, which is also looking into Foster’s death, previously told The Daily Beast that Foster was pronounced dead at a medical facility in Northport, Alabama, but declined to answer further questions.
I’m just hoping and praying that this time they do not get away with it.
Austin, Broady’s attorney, also mentioned a third case, involving the shooting death of 62-year-old Wallace Wilder in Aug. 2019.
According to allegations made in an ongoing lawsuit filed by Wilder’s family, the Black man was shot and killed by Sheriff Hall and another officer after an incident that was initially intended as a wellness check. According to the complaint, Wilder had diagnosed paranoid schizophrenia, which the suit alleges was known to Hall and the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office due to previous interactions with Wilder.
Hall declined to speak about the incident.
In a motion to dismiss the suit, Hall argued that he and other deputies present at the scene were “acting in the scope” of their authority at the time of the incident.
According to the suit, officers “broke into” Wilder’s home and aggressively confronted him, despite his known mental issues. The suit claims Wilder was alleged to have had a knife before he was tased and subsequently shot.
According to the suit, the family’s information in the complaint came from the office of the Attorney General of Alabama, which investigated the incident for possible charges. Austin said the investigation resulted in no charges for the officers involved.
The office of the state Attorney General did not respond to a request for comment.
Mariah Wilder, the daughter of Wilder, told The Daily Beast that hearing about Foster’s death this week made her feel for his family. “Me losing my dad to police violence was super hard,” she said. “I can only imagine how it feels losing a husband, losing a son.”
She said she was also hopeful that Foster’s high profile can bring more attention to the county’s actions.
“I’m just hoping and praying that this time they do not get away with it.”