A crowd of rioters destroyed property and sparked a police response this week in the aftermath of a botched video game giveaway. Video footage of the rioting in the city’s Union Square shows young people jumping on and smashing a car amidst the disorder.
The tumult began after social media personality Kai Cenat promised to give away game products. Cenat has more than 20 million followers on the video game streaming website Twitch.
Cenat, aged 21, did not receive a permit for the event which resulted in at least seven injuries. Three of the injuries were police officers.
Video footage of the situation showed the rioters throwing objects, including rocks, at pedestrians and officers. One 17-year-old was hospitalized after being hit by fireworks.
During the event a number of young people engaged in violent behavior, resulting in 65 arrests. Among those detained, 30 were underage.
The riot also resulted in the destruction of several food carts and stores. In addition, the attackers destroyed several police vehicles. One photo shows a young man throwing a potted flower.
One witness described young people “taking plates off of people who were outside dining,” and then throwing them at police officers.
New York City is completely out of control. Kai Cenat, a popular Twitch streamer, held a giveaway that turned into a massive riot in Union Square. Police were outnumbered, and the mayor remains silent. pic.twitter.com/U4rp9nnSBr
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 4, 2023
The gathering began at 12:30 p.m. Friday, prior to Cenat’s arrival at 3:30. The New York Police Department struggled to contain the growing crowd, with NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey saying that he “personally saw other people leaving here with their heads split open, cuts, bruises, lacerations.”
He added that there would be “more injuries before this evening’s over.” The police chief added that he was personally struck twice.
Police faced a hostile crowd that shouted at them and threw things at officers. The chief stated that some of the rioters were carrying axes and shovels.
Police arrested Cenat on charges of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly. The NYPD charged the social media influencer with other charges which have not yet been released to the public.