Berkeley police: Man arrested, charged after grabbing three women near Cal

A 37-year-old man was arrested Monday in Berkeley after grabbing three women in their 20s last week near the UC Berkeley campus, police report.

Police say a man on a bike grabbed all three women by their buttocks or genital area. According to court papers, the man had dreadlocks and wore a pink backpack during all three incidents of sexual battery.

Two sex crimes detectives spotted Jodonnell Powell Jr. — whose city of residence is unknown — riding his bike in downtown Berkeley on Monday morning and recognized him as the man who had been described in those recent incidents, said Berkeley Police spokesman Officer Byron White in a statement provided in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry.

According to White, Powell grabbed the first woman as she walked in the Southside neighborhood near Bancroft Way and Fulton Street on Thursday at about 8:15 a.m., then grabbed the second woman as she walked in the 2400 block of Channing Way (near Telegraph Avenue) at 8:50 a.m.


Friday, police say he grabbed a woman on the north side of campus, near Hearst Avenue and Walnut Street, at 8:40 a.m.

The sex crimes detectives saw Powell at about 8:40 a.m. Monday near Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Center Street downtown, according to court papers. Police arrested him nearby at Allston Way and Milvia Street.

Powell is on felony probation for assault likely to produce great bodily injury, according to court records. He has a prior conviction for indecent exposure.

Two of the women identified Powell as the man who grabbed them, according to court papers. Powell also offered his own confession, according to BPD.

“I grabbed three girls,” he told police during a Mirandized statement, according to charging documents. Of one of the women, who was Asian, he told police during the interview, “I touched her … butt on Shattuck. I touched another Asian girl butt on Telegraph. And that’s the white girl. I touched her butt.”

The Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Powell on Wednesday with two counts of sexual battery related to incidents Thursday and Friday. They are misdemeanors. Powell was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at the East County Hall of Justice in Dublin. His next court date was not immediately available.

Police ask anyone with details about these crimes to call the Berkeley Police Department Sex Crimes Unit at 510-981-5735.