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Detective's behavior is at issue again

A spat with his wife could result in charges. Last year he was in the center of a racial controversy.

By ALEX LEARY
Published March 10, 2005


ST. PETERSBURG - A detective who was suspended last year after slapping another officer - touching off concerns about racial tension within the department - is under scrutiny again after an incident with his wife.

Robbery detective Anthony Foster is the subject of both internal and criminal investigations, police spokesman Bill Proffitt said Wednesday. Foster was not arrested.

The incident took place about 9:30 p.m. Sunday. While talking with his wife through a bathroom window, a report said, Foster broke the pane with his hand and the glass shards hit his wife, causing a small cut on her right shoulder. She does not want to press charges, the report said, but that decision rests with prosecutors.

No other details were released. Foster, 33, could not comment because the investigation is ongoing, Proffitt said.

The dispute that roiled the department happened on April 17. Foster, who was off duty, went out for drinks with another woman and was in the woman's car in the police parking lot when his wife arrived about 1:20 a.m.

Lutricia Foster asked to talk with her husband, but he did not respond. She then jumped on the hood of the car, which drove to 16th Street and back down Central Avenue. The driver told police Foster told her to drive and that his wife would get off.

When the car stopped, Foster went toward his wife. But an officer, who is white, extended his arm to stop him. Foster, who is black, slapped the hand twice, a report said. Foster's supervisor, who is black, arrived at the scene and argued with a lieutenant, who is white, over how to handle the situation.

In the end, Foster was suspended for three days without pay; the supervisor and lieutenant were given memorandums of counseling. The discipline set off controversy, with some arguing Foster should have been punished more and others saying the case should not have been referred to the state attorney.

"We are a very diverse organization," police Chief Chuck Harmon wrote in an October memo. "Our varied backgrounds, customs and life experiences should make us stronger, not divide us."