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A video game giveaway became a brief riot in New York City

A streamer known as Kai Cenat promised to give away game consoles in New York Friday. Police moved in to disperse an occasionally violent gathering.
A videogame giveaway became a brief riot in New York City
Posted at 2:10 PM, Aug 04, 2023

A streamer known as Kai Cenat drew an enormous crowd in New York City Friday during an event promoting a video game console giveaway. The crowd quickly grew beyond the police's ability to control, climbing on cars and throwing furniture.

In an Instagram post which appears to no longer to be public, Cenat promised to give away PlayStation 5 consoles on Friday in New York's Union Square Park. The promotion drew thousands of people, who quickly began to block lanes of traffic and overwhelm the police presence on hand.

Aerial footage showed the crowd spilling through intersections near the park and climbing on vehicles. Lines of helmeted police worked to contain and disperse the crowd, arranging new barricades to control traffic.

Some people climbed onto moving vehicles and pounded on the sides of city buses. Footage showed debris in the streets, including yellow chairs that some of the crowd had thrown.

The NYPD warned in a post on the X social network that there would be a significant police presence and traffic delays around the park as it responded. It asked people to avoid the area or find new routes to get to their destinations.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority also warned that many of its subway routes would bypass the station nearest the incident while police worked to control the gathering.

A spokesperson for the New York Police Department confirmed police placed Cenat in custody and arrested several others during the event. 

Cenat faces charges including inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, a police spokesperson said Friday.

Messages from The Associated Press to Cenat's publicist and management company were not immediately returned.

21-year-old Cenat has a significant following as a video creator. He has 6.5 million subscribers on streaming platform Twitch, and 4 million subscribers on YouTube, where he posts comedy and prank videos. 

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