The Penn State police department released a statement about its use of a state police helicopter to help disperse tailgaters before Saturday’s game against Ohio State. According to videos from tailgaters on the ground, the helicopter flew so low at one point that items started flying through the air.
Here’s another clip:
School police said the “rare” use of the helicopter came because it had become unsafe for police officers on the ground as they were trying to get tailgaters to comply with directions. In a separate statement, the Pennsylvania State Police said two police horses and an officer had been assaulted while on tailgate enforcement duty.
It is rare to resort to these expanded interventions; however, when all other warnings … on the ground were ignored, a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter was deployed as another tool to compel the group to disperse and curb dangerous and unruly behavior. pic.twitter.com/l2CE9tqkvt
— Penn State Police and Public Safety (@PennStatePolice) October 1, 2018
“We understand concerns have been raised regarding police activity during tailgate celebrations in one lot, in advance of the Penn State vs. Ohio State game on Saturday,” the school police statement said. “University Police wishes to reassure fans that officers were responding to the circumstances on the ground, which involved numerous law violations, including serious threats to officer safety within a disorderly crowd. Unruly individuals refused to disperse following verbal commands and at least one officer suffered injuries. It is rare to resort to these expanded interventions; however, when all other warnings from the mounted police unite and officers on the ground were ignored, a Pennsylvania State Police helicopter was deployed as another tool to compel the group to disperse and curb dangerous and unruly behavior. Following the use of the helicopter, the dangerous behaviors dissipated.”
State police said they were called to assist with a “large-scale party that was getting out of hand.”
Then PSP deployed personnel, including the Pennsylvania State Police Tactical Mounted Unit. The crowd began to turn unruly and two PSP horses were assaulted and a trooper was injured. Ground units pulled back in an effort to deescalate the situation.
Following this incident, the Pennsylvania State Police Aviation Unit was called to assist. A helicopter was utilized to issue commands to disperse via loudspeaker. When personnel on scene noticed the helicopter was low enough to disturb items on the ground, the helicopter pulled up to a higher altitude.
Someone at the disturbed tailgates told Onward State that a woman was cut in the face by flying debris stirred up by the helicopter. He said he was planning on filing a police report regarding the police incident.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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