In a surprising turn of events, popular online personality Kai Cenat, known for his engaging content on Twitch and YouTube, was apprehended by authorities after a public gathering he organized in a New York City park spiraled into chaos.
The incident, which unfolded on Friday, resulted in charges of “inciting to riot” against the 21-year-old video game live-streamer.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) revealed that Cenat faced multiple charges, including rioting, incitement to riot, and unlawful assembly. He was issued a desk appearance ticket, requiring his appearance in court at a later date.
The gathering, initially intended as a giveaway event, attracted a substantial number of attendees who began converging on the park around 3 p.m. According to NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, the situation quickly escalated beyond control, with the crowd growing from a few hundred to several thousand people in mere minutes.
The influx of attendees prompted the NYPD to initiate a “Level 4” response, indicating the highest level of disaster response protocol.
Prior to this, a “Level 2” response had been activated to manage the crowd and restore order.
Maddrey reported that as the crowd expanded, disturbances arose, including acts of violence directed at law enforcement officers and the public.
Some individuals reportedly appropriated tools from a nearby construction site, further exacerbating the tumultuous atmosphere.
The scene was marred by the presence of fireworks being launched toward the police and amongst the attendees.
Eyewitnesses recounted that people had begun queuing as early as 1:30 p.m., and by 3 p.m., the gathering had swelled to a point where disorderliness ensued.
Several attendees expressed their anticipation of receiving electronic items such as computers and gaming consoles.
Police efforts eventually led to a degree of control being regained over the crowd by late afternoon, and many attendees dispersed.
Notably, NYPD sources emphasized their intention to avoid escalation and arrests, reflecting their prioritization of public safety.
Kai Cenat, a prominent figure in the online content creation sphere, boasts a staggering 6.5 million followers on Twitch and an impressive 4 million subscribers on YouTube. His video portfolio, which spans from humorous daily life vlogs to creative pranks, has garnered over 276 million views across 299 videos.
Cenat’s recognition culminated in his 2022 Streamy Awards win for Streamer of the Year.
During the event, Cenat livestreamed from a vehicle, showcasing the gift cards intended for distribution. He urged caution among attendees, emphasizing safety as a top priority.
Eventually, he and his entourage navigated through the thronging crowd to enter the park, where he found himself at the center of an enthusiastic gathering.
This unexpected turn of events raises questions about the influence and responsibility of social media influencers in organizing public gatherings.
As legal proceedings unfold, the incident serves as a reminder of the delicate balance between fostering online engagement and ensuring the safety and well-being of participants in real-world events.