UC Berkeley Student Arrested, Suspended From Football Team After Alleged Attack on Police Officer

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A UC Berkeley student and now-suspended football player was arrested early Sunday morning after allegedly attacking a police officer and demanding the officer hand over his gun, according to KTLA sister station KRON in San Francisco.

Joseph Ogunbanjo is seen in a booking photo released by the Berkeley Police Department.
Joseph Ogunbanjo is seen in a booking photo released by the Berkeley Police Department.

Joseph Adeyem Wisdom Ogunbanjo, 19, flagged down an officer driving on the college campus around 1 a.m., on Gayley Road near University Drive, Berkeley police said.

When the officer stopped, Ogunbanjo approached the patrol car’s window, then asked about the officer’s gun and whether he could drive the vehicle, investigators said.

The officer told Ogunbanjo he could not drive the car, which prompted the student 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.

Ogunbanjo later approached the officer and grabbed him, “tightening his grasp” as the situation escalated, police said.

As the officer tried to put the student in handcuffs, Ogunbanjo allegedly reached for the officer’s gun.

“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.

Ogunbanjo is also accused of taking the officer’s body camera and putting it in his pocket, and elbowing the officer in the head.

Ogunbanjo then got into the officer’s patrol car, police 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 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 school 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.”

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