Penn State students stage mini-riot after Joe Paterno is fired
Thousands of Penn State students staged a mini-riot Wednesday evening after Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno was fired by the school's Board of Trustees.
The students assembled two blocks from campus and chanted, "We want Joe! We want Joe!" Some threw rocks and bottles. A TV news van was tipped over and its windows were kicked in and a lamppost was toppled.
About 100 police wearing wearing helmets and carrying batons arrived at the scene around midnight and used pepper spray to break up the crowd. The officers announced into megaphones that the students would be breaking the law if they did not leave the area.
Paterno, 84, was fired after reports surfaced that he didn't alert police when a graduate student came to him in 2002 and told Paterno that he had witnessed assistant coach Jerry Sandusky engaging in inappropriate behavior with a 10-year-old boy in a school shower.
Paterno announced earlier Wednesday that he would retire after finishing the season, but an outraged Board of Trustees was not satisfied and dismissed the storied coach effective immediately.
Dustin Morgan, 20, a junior from Scranton, Pa., told Bloomberg that he thought the decision was "a little harsh."
“They’re just allegations,” Morgan said. “A lot of people were saying Joe didn’t make the right choice and morally he didn’t do the right thing, but to just fire a man who’s been here for 46 years and pretty much made this campus what it is now, I think is a little harsh.”
James Choi, 18, a freshman from Baltimore, also thought the way Paterno was fired was unjust.
“He shouldn’t have to go out this way,” Choi said. “They should let him leave with his dignity.”
-- Melissa Rohlin
Photo: Penn State students smash a TV news van after Joe Paterno was fired. Credit: Michael Henninger / Associated Press