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Ex-Cal Football Player Charged For Alleged Assault On Berkeley Police Officer

BERKELEY (CBS SF) -- A former University of California at Berkeley football player was charged on Wednesday with two felony counts for allegedly assaulting a Berkeley police officer and attempting to grab his gun in a struggle on the campus early Sunday morning.

Joseph Adeyem Wisdom Ogunbanjo, 19, was arraigned on charges of resisting an executive officer and attempted firearm removal and is scheduled to return to court on Friday to enter a plea.

Arrested Cal Bears linebacker Joseph Ogunbanjo
Arrested Cal Bears linebacker Joseph Ogunbanjo (Berkeley Police Dept.)

Ogunbanjo, an outside linebacker for the Golden Bears, remains in custody at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin but his current bail amount isn't listed. His bail initially was set at $185,000.

Berkeley police Officer Vahe Minassian said in a probable cause statement that the attack happened on Gayley Road near University Drive, close to the Greek Theater and the Cal football stadium, at about 1 a.m. on Sunday.

Minissian said he was sitting in his vehicle when Ogunbanjo walked up to him and "asked me if I had a gun, then asked me if he could drive my patrol vehicle."

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Minassian said he asked Ogunbanjo to leave, but instead Ogunbanjo opened the driver's side door without permission and "it appeared as if he was going to forcefully pull me out."

The officer said that in order to prevent Ogunbanjo from taking his patrol car, he pulled out his gun and pointed it at Ogunbanjo as he got out of his vehicle.

Minassian wrote that he informed dispatchers that he was conducting a pedestrian stop, but while he was waiing for cover Ogunbanjo started to grab him and then reached for his Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol twice.

Minassian said he punched Ogunbanjo in the head two or three times to stop him from taking the gun. The officer said that while he struggled with the football player Ogunbanjo elbowed him in the face.

Minassian wrote that Ogunbanjo walked over to the vehicle and sat in the driver's seat "as if he was going to steal" it.

The officer said he hit Ogunbanjo on his arm with a baton two or three times to stop him from leaving. Minassian said that after the baton strikes Ogunbanjo got out of the vehicle and complied with his orders to get on the ground.

Minassian said another officer arrived to help take Ogunbanjo into custody but there was a struggle during the detention. However, Minissian said he and the other officer ultimately were
able to arrest Ogunbanjo.

According to Cal football's website, Ogunbanjo is from Houston and was on the team the past two seasons, playing in 17 games and recording 11 tackles. However, he's no longer on the roster.

Cal Athletics said in a statement that it is aware of the incident involving Ogunbanjo and said "the details as described by the Berkeley Police Department are troubling."

Cal Athletics said, "While he is no longer a member of our football program, we remain concerned for his well-being."

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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