Influencer Kai Cenat charged with inciting a riot after New York City mayhem

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Live streamer's 'giveaway' goes awry in New York

Police officers stand guard as people gather after popular live streamer Kai Cenat announced a “giveaway” event that grew chaotic, prompting police officers to respond and disperse the crowd at Union Square and the surrounding streets, in New York City, U.S. August 4, 2023. REUTERS/David ‘Dee’ Delgado/File Photo

Aug 5 (Reuters) – Social media influencer Kai Cenat has been charged with inciting a riot after he announced a giveaway of video game consoles that drew thousands of people to a New York City park on Friday and sparked violent clashes with police.

Sixty-five people were arrested, including 30 juveniles, and several police officers and civilians were injured in the melee at Union Square park, Jeffrey Maddrey, the New York Police Department’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, told a news conference late on Friday.

Some in the crowd threw projectiles at police, climbed onto the roof of a subway entrance and jumped on top of cars.

Cenat, best known for his live streams on the gaming site Twitch and YouTube videos, was also charged with unlawful assembly, Maddrey said.

He said the crowd started to calm down when police officers evacuated Cenat from the park.

In a video posted Thursday, Cenat told his followers that the giveaway would include computers and Playstation 5 consoles.

Cenat, 21, has 6.5 million followers on Twitch and 4 million subscribers on YouTube. He was named “Streamer of the Year” in 2022 at the Streamy Awards.

Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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