Influencer Kai Cenat arrested and released after his NYC giveaway descended into a riot

“I personally saw other people leaving here with their heads split open, cuts bruises, lacerations."


YouTube and Twitch influencer Kai Cenat was arrested and later released with a desk appearance ticket on Friday for charges related to a riot that broke out at his giveaway event at Union Square in New York City earlier that day. 

In a press conference, NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said Cenat faces "at least two counts of inciting a riot, unlawful assembly, and a few other charges" for holding the unlicensed event to give away Playstation 5s.

Cenant, who has 4 million subscribers on his main YouTube channel, and 3.6 million on his live stream channel, announced on Wednesday that he would have the giveaway in a video that had over 2 million views by Friday afternoon, according to NBC.

While the event was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., Union Square Park had filled up entirely around 3 p.m., reports NBC. Police began to warn the public to stay away from the area, and subway trains began to bypass the Union Square station. 

“A lot of these young people, they were not following our orders. They really wanted to see this influencer." Maddrey said. "It got to the point where we were able to get the influencer out and, at that point, we were trying to take control of the scene.” 

The scene turned into chaos as the crowd got violent and began tearing down construction barricades and throwing objects at police. Around 5:30 p.m., police blocked every entrance to the area, and the crowd began to disperse. 

Maddrey told reporters that 65 people were arrested, 30 of them juveniles, and that three officers were injured in the riot. He said of the incident, "Officers were attacked, we were crushed." He said that he was in the crowd and had been hit with "multiple objects." 

He noted that the people in the crowd were leaving injured as well. "I personally saw other people leaving here with their heads split open, cuts bruises, lacerations," Maddrey said. "You’re talking about a very dangerous, chaotic situation."

The desk appearance ticket requires Cenat to appear before the court at a later date, but did not force him to pay bail.

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