State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

King: No Evidence That News Media Helped Incite State College Riot

on January 04, 2012 11:05 AM

State College police have found no evidence that journalists helped to incite the Nov. 9 downtown riot, borough police Chief Tom King said Tuesday.

"We just haven't found anything" to prove that, King said.

Earlier, in a late-November interview with 6News, King said a few journalists with national networks may have contributed to the riot. Speaking Tuesday with, he said police had heard general suggestions that some media crews may have engaged in riotous conduct.

Investigators received no specific, detailed claims, though, King said.

He said police have now spent about 200 hours looking into the riot, combing through video footage, identifying participants and preparing charges. The investigation has yielded charges against more than 40 people, many of them facing misdemeanor counts such as failure to disperse.

But there's not sufficient evidence to charge anyone -- journalists or others -- specifically with helping to incite the riot, King said. And unless new details emerge, he said, he does not expect that to change.

Police have said the riot investigation is mostly complete. Most of those charged are Penn State students; none of them appears to be a working journalist.

The riot erupted late Nov. 9 after the university Board of Trustees announced the departures of then-Penn State President Graham Spanier and then-football Coach Joe Paterno from their respective positions. Rioters' emotions were heavily caught up in Paterno's dismissal, as they roamed parts of the downtown and the University Park campus.

Some local police officers were hurt in the riot. Public- and private-property damages are expected to exceed $150,000.

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