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Twitch Streamer Arrested Following Union Square Riot

Police work to hold back crowds in Union Square Park after over 3,000 people showed up to get free electronic devices that were promised by Twitch influencer Kai Cenat.

   On Friday, August 4th, popular Twitch streamer Kai Cenat was arrested and charged with multiple offenses, including inciting a riot after announcing that he would be giving away expensive tech items in Union Square Park, NYC.

   Cenat, who has an audience of over 6 million followers, announced during a Twitch stream on Friday that he would be hosting a “huge giveaway” that day at 4 pm in Union Square Park. He said they would be giving away computers, PlayStation 5s, microphones, keyboards, webcams, gaming chairs, headphones, and gift cards from a truck in Union Square. “I feel like New York really deserves it,” he said.

   By 12:30 pm on Friday there were only approximately 300 fans, but soon there were over 6,000 fans, both from NYC, and from out of state.

   Though they were initially peaceful, the crowd of primarily juveniles would go on to destroy storefronts, vehicles, and other pieces of public property.. 

   The NYPD eventually extinguished the riot, resulting in 66 arrests, 30 of whom are juveniles. 

   According to The New York Times, Cenat was seen being escorted out of Union Square by the NYPD, and soon ended up in custody at NYPD’s 9th Precinct. Cenat was charged with felony first-degree rioting, as well as misdemeanor inciting a riot and unlawful assembly. Event organizers are expected to  obtain city permits so that law enforcement can close streets and create access points. According to Police chief Jeffery Maddrey, Mr. Cenat did not notify authorities or get a permit.

   Following his release Cenat hosted a livestream in which he acknowledged the situation, stating, “I am beyond, bro, disappointed — beyond disappointed in anybody who became disruptive that day, bro. 100%, that s–t is not cool.”

   Newsstand owner Liaquat Ali was one of many directly impacted by the riot. Ali reported that four teenagers approached his newsstand, and brutally beat him. Soon making off with $800 in food and drinks and $2,600 in cash. “The terrorist boys attacked me — they punched me here, here, and here —  I want punishment, any kind of punishment for the rioters.” Ali, 69, stated in an interview conducted by the New York Post. 

    NYPD reports that they are still searching for a few individuals involved with the riot. Cenat was later released the same day with his court date set for August 18th. 

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About the Contributor
Ashton Young
Ashton Young, Staff Writer
Ashton Young is currently a sophomore at UHS, and this is his first year as Staff Writer on The Torch. He enjoys reading and visiting national or state parks. He appreciates and listens to all kinds of music and his favorite film is Reservoir Dogs.
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