Social media influencer faces multiple charges after giveaway sparks chaos in Manhattan

(Xinhua) 10:53, August 06, 2023

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kai Cenat, a popular livestreamer on the American online streaming platform Twitch, will face multiple charges after a giveaway event he hosted Friday in New York City's Manhattan erupted into chaos, said local police.

Cenat will be charged with multiple counts of inciting a riot, unlawful assembly and possibly other crimes, New York City Police Department chief Jeffrey Maddrey said at a Friday night news conference.

Cenat, who has more than 9 million followers combined on Twitch and other social media platforms, said Wednesday during a Twitch stream that he would be hosting a "huge giveaway" Friday at 4:00 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) in Manhattan's Union Square Park, which would involve video game consoles, gift cards, and mobile phones, among other items.

However, the event grew out of control well before its scheduled start time, with the crowd size climbing to a "couple thousand people" and individuals beginning to "commit acts of violence towards the police and the public," said Maddrey.

People started "walking around with shovels, axes, and other tools" taken from a nearby construction site, he said, adding, "individuals were also lighting fireworks, throwing them towards the police. They were throwing them towards each other."

Maddrey said a number of young people in the crowd and several police officers were injured.

The influencer himself was removed by police for "safety reasons," while 65 people, including 30 juveniles, were arrested by police, he said. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Sheng Chuyi)


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