OAKLAND — A University of California at Berkeley football player who was suspended indefinitely after he punched a fellow student at a fundraising party last year had his felony assault conviction reduced to a misdemeanor today.
Damaria Drew’s attorney, Darryl Stallworth, said Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi agreed to reduce Drew’s conviction to a misdemeanor because Drew has been doing community service work, taking anger management classes and attending Butte College in Oroville.
Drew, 21, wants to be readmitted to the university and to be allowed back on the football team, for which he played all 12 games in the fall of 2013 and started three games, Stallworth said.
Cal’s athletics department said in a statement that even before Drew had his conviction reduced to a misdemeanor today he had reapplied to the university on his own and had been readmitted because he had” worked hard to satisfy all of the academic and student conduct requirements set forth by our campus.”
The athletics department said, “Provided he continues to take the steps necessary to remain in good standing, he will be eligible to try-out this fall as a walk-on for our football program.”
Berkeley police Officer Peter Hong said in a probable cause statement that Drew got into a confrontation with another student over the other student’s dog at a fundraising event at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at 2722 Bancroft Way sometime between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on May 4, 2014.
The victim said Drew, who graduated from Livermore High School, kicked his dog but Drew told police that the dog had bitten him, according to Hong.
The victim said Drew threatened him and then punched him at least three times, Hong said.
Two witnesses identified Drew as the suspect and independently confirmed the victim’s account of the incident, according to Hong.
Drew, who had been free on bail, pleaded no contest to felony assault on April 6 and was sentenced to felony probation in June, Stallworth said.
Today, Delucchi reduced Drew’s conviction to a misdemeanor and placed him on misdemeanor probation.
Stallworth said Drew will be a redshirt junior this fall.
The defense attorney said the incident “was an argument that escalated into a confrontation” and Drew now “understands his role in it and that he should have handled it a lot differently.”
Stallworth said Drew wants to have “a second chance to get a college education so he can become the first person in his family to do so.”
Stallworth, who was a starting defensive back for Cal for three years in the mid-1980s, said he’s encouraging Drew to consider going to law school after he graduates from college.