After 46 legendary years as head coach of Penn State, Joe Paterno is out and angry students took to the streets, a mob pushing through State College.
Fury was unleashed well into the early morning hours Thursday as hundreds of students expressed their outrage on the streets of the university’s main campus.
“What they did to JoePa is wrong, it’s absolutely wrong. He didn’t do anything wrong,” said a student protester.
The source of their anger was the abrupt firing of Nittany Lions head football coach Joe Paterno, known as JoePa to students and fans, who has been caught up in the child sex abuse scandal rocking Penn State.
As the morning hours rolled on, the mob frenzy grew more furious with students damaging property, lashing out at police, and eventually turning their rage on the media.
Newswatch 16’s satellite truck came under fire as a live truck from another station was flipped over by students.
“People just starting knocking it back, rocking it back and forth and eventually, it just kind of toppled,” said freshman Del Hebert.
As the crowds reached a fever pitch, police in riot gear did what they could to get it under control.
On Wednesday evening, Penn State’s Board of Trustees said President Graham Spanier agreed to resign and Joe Paterno was no longer head coach, both effective immediately. Paterno announced earlier in the day that he planned to retire at the end of the season.”Someone shouted ‘tear gas,’ someone shouted ‘mace’ and I don’t know, everybody just kind of ran,” recounted one student protester.
The board was told at the news conference that its decision to fire Paterno was already causing student riots, but the board said it had no choice.
The scandal began because former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of molesting eight boys and investigators said some of the assaults took place in the school’s football complex locker room.
Athletic Director Tim Curley and Vice President of Finance Gary Schultz are charged with failing to report Sandusky.
Now the board is dealing with rumors of a university cover-up. Students said it shouldn’t be Paterno who takes the fall.
“You can’t fire a man on a phone call. They called him and told him he’s fired, a man who’s given his life and soul to this school,” said sophomore Greg Price. “He’s living legend.”
University police and state police responded in riot gear.
Some students being taken away in hand cuffs. Police have not released the number of people arrested.