UNION SQUARE, Manhattan (WPIX) – Twitch streamer Kai Cenat will be charged with inciting a riot and unlawful assembly after a massive crowd descended into chaos during a giveaway event of his at Union Square in Manhattan on Friday, police said.
On Thursday, Cenat tweeted that he would be heading to Union Square Plaza at 4 p.m. for a giveaway of computers and gaming equipment, drawing what’s estimated to be thousands to the area on Friday.
The streets were clogged with people. Some people were knocked down and bloodied from stampeding in the crowd. Beer bottles were thrown, cops were pelted with objects, people were knocking each other down, and construction sites were overturned.
NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said he witnessed people with bloodied heads and faces emerging from the crowd.
“People were suffering out here. A lot of young people got hurt,” NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said during a briefing. “We’re not against young people having a good time … but it can’t be to this level.”
Several fights broke out as the crowd swelled, video of the scene showed. Police responded in riot gear as tensions soared, objects were hurled and property was damaged.
A witness told Nexstar’s WPIX the crowd turned into a mosh pit, with people throwing chairs, garbage cans, umbrellas, basketballs, and fruit.
“It was the uttermost chaos,” the witness told WPIX. “We had to run for our lives due to a stampede … it was really scary.”
The NYPD descended on the scene to try to bring control and order. NYPD teams in riot gear entered the park around 4:40 p.m. The NYPD urged people to stay away from the area but the crowd continued to swell and several fights broke out as panic set in and people tried to flee the area.
Maddrey said 65 people — including 30 juveniles — were arrested as police tried to bring the crowd under control.
Former deputy police chief John Cutter spoke to Nexstar’s WPIX about the chaos.
“I think [police] are trying to push whatever crowd they can either back into the park or out of the area through specific routes so they can start to close off part of the city and area so that everybody can’t just go wherever they want. They seem to be doing it fairly successfully,” said Cutter.
Cutter said part of the problem likely was that the crowd was there for a giveaway that did not deliver.
“Clearly, they weren’t going to give away 2,000 PlayStations or Switches or whatever they were giving away,” Cutter said. “So you’re going to have a lot of disgruntled people, a lot of people who are not happy that they aren’t getting something. And it’s just creating that little bit of chaos where all it takes is a little spark to ignite something like this.”
As of around 6 p.m., the crowd continued to diminish and become more under control.
WPIX reached out to UTA Cenat’s talent representative for a statement but did not immediately receive a response.