Twitch Influencer, Kai Cenat Faces Charges for Inciting Riot During Union Square Giveaway Frenzy

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Kai Cenat will face multiple charges for organizing a mob of young supporters on Friday that sent several people to the hospital and trashed multiple police cruisers and the city’s Union Square Park. The influencer, who has more than 20 million followers, will face two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, as well as unspecified additional offenses, according to NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey.

The 21-year-old live streamer failed to obtain a permit for his giveaway of gaming accessories in the park on Friday afternoon, and the event quickly degenerated into violent pandemonium as thousands of young fans flooded the streets. Throughout the three-hour melee, 65 additional individuals were arrested, 30 of whom were adolescents.

Videos Capture Violent Confrontation in Protest, Leaving Injuries in its Wake

Videos depict the protesters throwing cones, bottles, and rocks at each other, along with innocent bystanders and responding officers. Maddrey reports that at least three police officers and four civilians were injured during the chaos. One 17-year-old was brought to the hospital with what authorities initially believed was a gunshot wound, but was later determined to have been caused by fireworks thrown into the crowd by a rioter. 

Additionally, the crowd destroyed food wagons, stores, and a number of police cruisers, including the department head’s. Maddrey stated that they were throwing plates at police agents. Police became aware of the unofficial gathering around 12:30 p.m Shortly after Cenat posted on Twitch that he planned to give away free PlayStation 5s, computers, microphones, and other gaming accessories.

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Influencer’s Arrival Triggers Chaotic Crowds, Arrest, and Riot Dispersal

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Photo by: FOX 32 Chicago via YouTube

 Approximately 300 people turned up at 1:30 p.m., but the crowd grew exponentially, rapidly fast due to the power of social media, according to Maddrey. As soon as Cenat arrived at 3:30, he was surrounded by tens of thousands of cheering admirers. The officers had to be delicate in their treatment of the children. After arresting Cenat, the NYPD was able to ultimately put an end to the riot. Unknown is whether the influencer was able to distribute any of the gaming goods before being whisked away to safety.

Aerial footage depicted the throng flooding the streets, with some adolescents using barricades to prevent the police from entering. In addition, they threw bottles, eggs, and construction equipment while shouting “F–k the police” and “suck my d–k.” Others were witnessed hurling garbage cans at police officers, destroying passenger vehicles, and boarding MTA buses. Some protestors were spotted weaving through the throng while carrying axes and shovels.

Maddrey believes that if the event had been organized through the proper municipal channels, the NYPD would have had time to set up barriers and deploy the appropriate number of officers. However, he places some of the responsibility on parents, urging them to intervene in their children’s social lives, particularly when it comes to social media. The chief exhorted adolescents to enjoy their lives without becoming unruly.

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Source: New York Post, Forbes

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