Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Police Peruse Selfie Posts for 'Riots' Suspects

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Police Peruse Selfie Posts for 'Riots' Suspects

Article excerpt

Hours after WVU's big victory over Baylor on Saturday, some fans posed with toppled light poles and burning couches and posted the photos online.

Now it could be a case of selfie-incrimination.

Morgantown police Chief Ed Preston said his department captured screenshots of images loaded on Instagram, Twitter and anonymous social media app Yik Yak and plan to use them to develop suspects. Not only were football fans using social media to coordinate post- game revelry, but they were "trying to get selfies with broken pole light poles, like they were proud of being destructive," he said.

"Those people that were engaged in criminal activity, we will be going forward to charge them," the chief said Monday in an interview.

Morgantown police have already arrested five people in connection with what they described as "riots" that caused tens of thousands in damage and drew several law enforcement agencies, some using pepper spray and tear gas to control rowdy crowds.

Campus police arrested a person from Delaware, who was not a student, for battery caused by throwing objects, a school spokesman said.

In terms of numbers, Saturday's antics were JV compared to Oct. 22, 2003, when the team upset No. 3 Virginia Tech, 28-7. After that victory, fans tried to rip down the goal posts at Mountaineer Field, prompting a 40-minute battle with police, who used pepper spray and brute force. Investigators recorded more than 150 fires, and fans chucked bottles, cans and other debris at officers.

Fire investigators logged 39 fires Saturday, mostly in the city's Sunnyside neighborhood and in Downtown, adjacent to the main campus.

While predictable at times - couches, trash and dumpsters were set ablaze - Morgantown's fire marshal Ken Tennant also noted a disturbing quality to Saturday's riots that he'd witnessed after WVU's 2012 victory against Texas.

"Unfortunately, what I see now is more violence toward first- responders," he said.

Two firefighters and a state fire marshal were hit with full beer cans, and a brick or piece of concrete struck a fire engine, Mr. Tennant said. Chief Preston said no serious injuries were reported, but some officers, deputies and fire personnel had cuts and bruises after being hit with rocks and bottles. …

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