Joseph Ogunbanjo‘s recent downward spiral has taken a decidedly southward turn.
According to the Daily Californian, Ogunbanjo (pictured, center) was arrested early Sunday morning following a very disturbing incident this past weekend that certainly could’ve ended in tragedy. The student newspaper reports that the erstwhile Cal linebacker is facing one count each of suspicion of carjacking, threatening violence on a police officer, attempting to remove an officer’s weapon and battery on a police officer.
From the newspaper’s report:
The man, identified by [Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Byron] White as Ogunbanjo, allegedly opened the driver’s side door and attacked the officer, prompting the officer to exit the vehicle and order Ogunbanjo to sit on the ground, the email said. White said in his email that a struggle followed as Ogunbanjo allegedly approached the officer and grabbed him — he also alleged that while the officer attempted to handcuff Ogunbanjo and call for emergency cover, Ogunbanjo reached for the officer’s handgun.
“The man continued his attack—demanding that the officer give him his handgun,” White alleged in his email. “At one point during the encounter, the man elbowed the officer in the head—knocking the officer off-balance. That’s when the man got in the driver’s seat of the police vehicle.”
According to White, with the assistance of other officers, Ogunbanjo was removed from the vehicle and restrained. According to the City of Berkeley Open Data booking log, Ogunbanjo was booked into Berkeley City Jail at 5:28 a.m. on Sunday, and Berkeleyside reported that Ogunbanjo was moved to a hospital as of about 2 p.m. Monday.
As a result of the incident, a football program official has confirmed that the 6-3, 240-pound Ogunbanjo is no longer a member of the Bears’ football team. The sophomore’s name has been removed from the team’s official online roster as well.
“We are aware of an incident involving Joseph Ogunbanjo, and the details as described by the Berkeley Police Department are troubling,” a statement from the university began. “While he is no longer a member of our football program, we remain concerned for his well-being.”
After playing in 10 games as a true freshman, Ogunbanjo had seen action in seven games this year. He has been credited with eight tackles, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble in 2019.
In mid-October, it was confirmed by head coach Justin Wilcox that Ogunbanjo was not with the team at the moment as he served an indefinite suspension. Late in the regular season and prior to this off-field incident, Ogunbanjo had been permitted to return to the team.