A Twitch influencer's giveaway event in Manhattan turned chaotic after thousands of his young followers swarmed Union Square Park and ended up clashing with the cops, vandalizing cars, and chanting offensive slogans like "F—k the PD" in a wild scene that lasted for almost three hours.
YouTube and Twitch personality Kai Cenat has since been arrested and will be charged. The incident took place during an unsanctioned giveaway event for PlayStation 5 consoles. The NYPD arrested 65 people, with 30 of them being juveniles during the chaotic events. According to the police, Kai Cenat will be charged with multiple criminal charges, including at least two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly.
Gathering Turns into Riot
Gamer Kai Cenat, who has over 20 million followers on Twitch, organized a real-life meet-up in which he intended to give away PlayStation 5s, computers, microphones, and other gaming accessories.
However, the location of the event was not disclosed until shortly before Cenat's arrival at the park. Additionally, no permit was obtained for the mass gathering, according to officials.
Videos capture the 21-year-old livestreamer, along with his crew, getting hyped up on their party bus before they make their way to the park. As soon as they arrive, they are met with an overwhelming and enthusiastic crowd of thousands of cheering fans.
However, within just 30 minutes, the situation escalates into violence, with rioters throwing cones, bottles, and rocks, and engaging in physical altercations.
The NYPD is seen quickly removing Cenat from the area to ensure his safety, as mentioned by NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey.
Other disturbing images and videos show a massive gathering of thousands of people in downtown Manhattan, with some people fighting and others hurling fire extinguishers at each other.
According to information from the police, at least 12 people have been injured during the incident, DailyMail.com reported. Multiple NYPD officers were present at the scene, working to disperse the crowd as of 5 pm.
The NYPD has issued warnings about potential disruptions to mass transit and traffic delays. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 people participated in the giveaway event.
Mayor Eric Adams has publicly condemned the violence, even advising his own son to stay away from the area due to the escalating situation.
"[The] NYPD became aware at about 1:30 p.m of a crowd forming in Union Square. It was quickly determined that an influencer was posting on social media about showing up to Union Square. He was encouraging all of his followers to come to the park," Maddrey said at a press conference late Friday afternoon.
"The crowd was swarmed when the influencer finally arrived at the park. Individuals in the park began to commit acts of violence towards the police and the public."
As the mayhem escalated and spread down Lafayette and Bleecker streets, the NYPD's riot squad was summoned to Union Square Park. Police sources described the situation as a "full-on riot."
Cenat was taken to an Upper East Side precinct and is now facing charges of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, as stated by NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey.
As for the intended giveaway, it remains unknown if Cenat was able to carry out the distribution of the promised items amid the chaotic events.
During the chaotic events, three police officers and four civilians sustained injuries, according to the police.
Aerial footage revealed a mob flooding the streets, with some teenagers using barricades to block the police. They engaged in violent acts, such as throwing bottles, eggs, and construction equipment while shouting offensive slogans like "F–k the PD" and "suck my d–k."
Additionally, two teenagers reportedly threw garbage cans at police officers on East 10th Street off Broadway. Some individuals were seen carrying axes and shovels, while others were throwing fireworks at the police and other attendees.
Videos captured the kids screaming and climbing on vehicles, with one person seemingly using the sharp end of an umbrella to vandalize a parked car. The scene was chaotic and destructive, with the youth engaging in violent and dangerous behavior.
"It was a very dangerous situation," Maddrey said. "We were in there, we were crushed, we were pushed. I had officers on the floor.
"I was hit with multiple objects as well. I think I have a couple of injuries but I'll figure that out when I have time to think about it."
The police chief mentioned that several teenagers were also among those injured during the incident.
Around 6 pm, the NYPD successfully managed to disperse the crowd, with officers closely monitoring some groups as they scattered southward.
An MTA bus was used to transport dozens of arrestees, and some individuals attempted to attack the vehicle as it left the scene.
As of now, a total of 19 juveniles and nine adults have been arrested, but the exact number of total arrests is still being calculated, according to police sources.