Former UC Berkeley football player arrested after alleged attack on police officer

Bay Area

BERKELEY (KRON) — A University of California, Berkeley student and now-suspended football player was arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly attacking a police officer and demanding the officer give him his gun.

According to Berkeley police, the 19-year-old man flagged down an officer around 1 a.m. on Gayley Road near University Drive on the UC Berkeley campus.

When the officer stopped, the suspect, identified as Joseph Adeyem Wisdom Ogunbanjo, approached the window of the patrol car and asked about the officer’s gun and if he could drive the car.

The officer told the suspect he could not drive the car and that prompted the man to forcibly open the officer’s car door, according to police.

The officer then got out of the car and told the 19-year-old to sit on the ground.

The suspect later approached the officer and grabbed him, “tightening his grasp” as the situation escalated, according to police.

As the officer tried to put the suspect in handcuffs, he tried to grab the officer’s gun, police said.

“Anybody who is trying to take your gun — the thought for any one of us is they are trying to kill me,” said Berkeley police spokesman Byron White.

During the attack, the suspect took the officer’s body camera and put it in his pocket and elbowed the officer in the head.

Ogunbanjo then got into the officer’s patrol car, the police department said.

Eventually, with the help of other officers, police were able to take the man into custody.

“We’re very fortunate that this didn’t end in tragedy,” White said.

Ogunbanjo was arrested on charges of suspicion of carjacking, threatening violence on a police officer, attempting to remove an officer’s weapon and battery on a police officer.

The suspect was a linebacker on UC Berkeley’s football team, according to the team roster, and began playing for the team in 2018.

In a statement, Cal Athletics said, “We are aware of an incident involving Joseph Ogunbanjo, and the details as described by the Berkeley Police Department are troubling. While he is no longer a member of our football program, we remain concerned for his well-being.”

Some UC Berkeley students are aware of the incident and believe the student’s removal from the team seems justified, but they’d like to know what led up to his behavior.

“Obviously like right of the bat, it’s pretty crazy, but it would help to know more of the back story,” a student said.

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