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Michigan Fan Gets Pepper Sprayed By Police

A rowdy Michigan fan gets pepper sprayed by police Saturday and a picture of the incident is going viral.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - It was one of the busiest weekends for police in State College, but one incident seems to take the cake on social media.

This weekend's upset over Michigan will be a memorable one for a long time to come, but for a Michigan fan, he'll remember it for a different reason.

It was a winning weekend for Penn State sports, and a football game that will go down in the books as one of the most thrilling in Penn State history, but there's one picture that seems to capture the essence of Saturday's game and it's turning a lot of heads on the Internet.

Photos were posted to a Flicker blog, showing a Michigan fan being pepper sprayed by police.

This Deadspin video is going viral and viewers on our WTAJ Facebook page are sounding off.

Melody writes, "It's so sad a sporting event gets to this point....anyone that goes knows there is only one winner, so why let it get to this point?"

Sandi writes, "People have no idea what the police and EMS deal with at every game, I get to see it first hand."

Jay writes, simply, "Excessive force!"

Officers with Penn State Police say Monday, the officer in the picture was acting in self defense.

"The officers involved, they have to make a split-second decision on how they're going to handle the situation," Assistant Chief, Bill Moerschbacher, said. "Sometimes the camera is right there to take a perfect shot and get a picture like that."

According to officer accounts, the man was being rowdy and was asked to leave the stadium, but when officers approached to escort him out, he grabbed onto the railing and refused to leave.

One man sitting near the incident says the Michigan fan started throwing swings when he got pepper sprayed.

"We look at the incident in its entirety," Moerschbacher said. "We've already seen reports come in from officers and we're going to evaluate them and make sure everything was according to our policy."

He adds, "You know, you have a lot of emotion in a game like Penn State vs. Michigan and then you have a lot of people who are drinking a lot and it's always a bad combination."

Penn State and State College Police officers were involved in the incident. Officials with State College Police say the man will be charged with disorderly conduct. Charges are expected to be filed Tuesday.

Besides some other incidents, police say overall, the weekend was no different than other Homecoming weekends at Penn State and say things could have been a lot worse.
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