Students React to State Police Helicopter Used to Break up ‘Rowdy’ Tailgate Party at Penn State Football Game

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Video of a tailgate party at Penn State's game on Saturday has gone viral online.

The video shows a state police helicopter being used to break up what authorities say were unruly and violent party-goers.

On Penn State University's main campus, it's back to school after busy weekend filled with football. Penn State's White Out game against Ohio State on Saturday drew a large crowd, but students aren't talking about the battle on the field.

Instead, a big topic is the video showing a state police helicopter bearing down on a tailgate party in the parking lot of Beaver Stadium.

Many students who were tailgating saw it.

“At first, the helicopter was a good distance from the ground, but as it got closer to the crowd of people, it started lowering and then tents were flying everywhere,” said freshman Austin Gedrich.

“I was in a different lot but I saw all the chaos. It was just crazy,” said freshman Mason Gattuso.

“A lot of people's stuff was flying away. Tents were flying away,” said sophomore Olivia George.

State police say the helicopter was used to break up a large-scale party that was getting out of hand.

Another video posted online shows state police initially using its mounted patrol to subdue people who police say were unruly, even violent, with two horses assaulted and a trooper injured.

State police say when personnel on scene noticed the helicopter was low enough to disturb items on the ground, it pulled up to a higher altitude.

Police say ground units were also pulled back in an effort to calm the situation.

University officials say once the helicopter was used, the dangerous behavior dissipated.

Students say the helicopter took things too far.

“It was definitely a public safety hazard. A lot of people could have gotten hurt. I guess property was damaged all over the place,” said sophomore Parker Hamill.

“Overkill I think for the most part,” said Gedrich. “It was just some college kids having some fun. Nothing was too out of hand.”

The university says it is rare to resort to measures such as using the helicopter. However, that was only done after multiple warnings from police were ignored.

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