PlayStaion giveaway by streamer Kai Cenat turns into a massive riot in Manhattan

PlayStaion giveaway by streamer Kai Cenat turns into a massive riot in Manhattan


On Friday, the 4th of August, a giveaway event announced by a popular Youtube creator and Twitch (another streaming platform like Youtube) streamer Kai Cenat turned into a stampede and riot-like situation in Manhattan’s Union Square Park. After painstaking efforts, injuries to several Police officers, and countless arrests, the Chief of the Police Department Jeffrey Maddrey addressed the media, late on Friday, about the pandemonium that had taken place hours earlier. 

Maddrey informed the media that the popular influencer Kai Cenat was taken into custody and charged with multiple criminal offences including at least two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly.

The Chief officer stated that they were “absolutely” considering filing charges against Cenat. He said, “We have him. We’ll discuss with our legal department about charging him with inciting a riot and other charges.”

(Image Source – NY Post)

According to officials, Kai Cenat has millions of followers on both the popular streaming platforms Twitch and Youtube. He had posted on his social media platforms that on Friday at around 4 PM, he would giveaway many units of PlayStation 5, a video game console by Sony, in Union Square Park in Manhattan. He had asked his followers to attend the “pop-up” event which eventually drew a large crowd on the day of the event. 

However, the officials added that the event was spontaneous and hordes of young people gathered there without a city permit. They added that the police only learned about the gathering from a social media post around midday. However, by 3 p.m., he said, “The post had gone viral and the event grew exponentially.”

(Image Source – USA Today)

Calling it a “very dangerous situation”, Maddrey said, “People were suffering out here. It was a lot of people. It was uncontrolled, it took us a while to get it under control and a lot of people got hurt.” 

As per the official information, at least three NYPD officers were injured when the event turned violent, and in the aftermath of the so-called pop-up event, police arrested around 65 people

Hours after Kai Cenat announced the giveaway of the much sought-after gaming console, thousands of people gathered in Union Square. After 4 PM, the streamer arrived in a black SUV, standing through the sunroof, which was live-streamed on Twitch. He displayed gift cards of PlayStation 5 that he was giving away, causing the crowd to follow the car. Within minutes, the crowd grew controllably, and it turned into a riot.

Kai Cenat and his team managed to get out of the vehicle, cross a street, and went into the park, after which the live stream was stopped. While the SUV was driving away from the crowd, several people were seen holding into its windows and some people on its roof.

It has been estimated that around 3000 to 5000 people had gathered, and some people said that they heard sounds of gunfire.

The unruly crowd threw firecrackers and construction materials at Police officers

According to the Police, as the announced timing of the giveaway, 4 PM, drew closer, the crow became restless and the Police department had to initiate a Level 4 mobilisation, its highest-level response. 

They added that while a large part of the crowd remained peaceful, a large group of young fans started fighting among themselves and vandalised things. Meanwhile, one cluster of fans stormed a construction site nearby and then began hurling building materials, rocks, and bottles at one another. When the police officer carrying riot shields approached them trying to stop and arrest them, they pushed back against the cops and hurled building materials at them.

A mob of around 200 people also chanted abuses against the police. People in the crowd began to “commit acts of violence against the police and the public,” Chief Maddrey said. The crowd was not listening to the police order to maintain order.

Union Square Park Manhattan ruckus
Manhattan youtuber Kai Cenat arrested along with 64 others (Image Source – New Yorks Times)

While the cops managed to push most of the crowd into Park Avenue, they completely blocked both lanes of the road, stopped traffic, banged on the cars and hurled bottles and other items. The police had to use force to detain youths who refuse to follow orders.

Maddrey said, “You had people walking around with shovels, axes, and other tools of the construction trade.” He added that some unruly fans had been lighting fireworks and tossing them toward officers and one another.

“We have encountered things like this before but never to this level of dangerousness where young people would not listen to our commands. They were fighting each other, they were hurting each other and they were turning their attacks on us. We had to defend ourselves and we had to make arrests,” Maddrey added.

By 6.15, more forces arrived at the scene, and most of the mob was controlled. Hundreds of people were trapped in the area for hours as their vehicles were stuck in the mayhem. Helicopter continued to fly overhead to monitor the situation.

“This speaks to the power of social media, and the danger of social media,” Jeffrey Maddrey said describing the event.

The ruckus was borderline “funny” for Gen-Z followers who also staged a ‘Black Live Matter’ protest when police dispersed them 

The Playstation-5 (PS-5) console giveaway announcement was made by Cenat along with his streaming partner Fanum. Cai has 6.5 million followers on the platform Twitch and 4 million subscribers on YouTube. He posts daily life and comedy vlogs ranging from “Fake Hibachi Chef Prank!” to his most recent video, “I Rented Us Girlfriends In Japan!”

Image Source – NBCrightnow

Both of them, Canet and Fanum, are members of the streaming group AMP and it has a blind following of Gen-Z kids. His fans while speaking about the horrifying stampede and bursting of firecrackers at police officers and at each other claimed that it lay somewhere between bothersome and “funny”. 

Josh Ortiz, one of those present in the crowd, said, “It’s between bothersome and funny. There was a big explosion just a second ago, but if you know, as I do, that it’s just kids with fireworks, then it gets kind of funny.” He added that Kai Cenat is the biggest Black creator in America right now.

Some fans claimed that they were there to get a free Playstation gift card and then earn a fortune like Kai Cenat. While one fan said, “Kai Cenat said pop-out and that’s what the city did. That’s how we show love!” and reportedly there were many more like him. 

(Image Source – Daily Mail)

When the police tried to disperse them to nearby streets, one horde of his fans took a knee and started a “Black Lives Matter” chant at 19th Street. While those who were diverted to other streets stormed the buildings nearby including a CVS store. They looted candy, snacks, and water bottles and distributed them among themselves, and littered the space. Some others snatched the food from those who were dining outside the restaurants. 

Image Source – The Brunswick News

Chief Officer Maddrey clearly stated that the officers gave the crowd several chances to leave the area before making arrests. However, when they lodged the detainees inside a city bus, a large crowd of young fans attacked the bus and tried to free the unruly ones detained by the police. 

65 people were arrested by police for riots, around half of whom are juveniles. The police called a bus to ferry the detainees from the scene. Cenat was also held along with the rioters.



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