NYPD looking to ID more people after Union Square PlayStation giveaway sparks riot

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Monday, August 7, 2023
NYPD looks to ID suspects after giveaway sparks Union Square riot
The NYPD is looking to ID more suspects after Twitch streamer Kai Cenat's PS5 giveaway caused a riot in Union Square on Friday. CeFaan Kim has the details.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The NYPD has released pictures of multiple youths wanted for damaging police cruisers and other vehicles when chaos broke out in Union Square last Friday afternoon.

Legal experts say video game influencer Kai Cenat whose giveaway erupted into pandemonium will probably not face any consequences, and he shouldn't, but that doesn't mean there aren't others who will.

NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said Monday the investigation is still active.

"We have an overwhelming amount of video showing people committing crimes out there, destroying property and hurting people," Maddrey said. "Those people will be arrested and brought to justice,.. our young people are very intelligent, they know right from wrong. I do believe that some came out with an attitude and a spirit of doing wrong. I'm not going to let them off that easy."

Officials believe influencer Cenat acted with good intentions when he gathered his fans for a PlayStation giveaway, but police said someone with a following of that magnitude has a responsibility to let them know.

RELATED: Who is Kai Cenat?

Authorities said the giveaway should have been addressed three or four days in advance so police could have been ready and barriers could have been put in place.

Maddrey estimated the crowd at 5,000 to 6,000 people.

The SUV believed to be carrying Kai Cenat was spotting by NewsCopter 7 whizzing away from Union Square after a social media giveaway sparked mayhem Friday evening.

Mayor Eric Adams indicated there may have been outside agitators in the crowd. Police said they are looking at all possibilities and every investigative lead.

At least 66 people were arrested, including Cenat, who received three desk appearance tickets for riot, a felony, and inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, both misdemeanors.

Legal experts believe the felony charge won't stick and the misdemeanor charges have about a 10% chance of sticking.

"I don't think he's gonna have a criminal record as a result of this and I don't think he should... he's got bad management," attorney Peter Frankel said. "You've got a PR team located in LA who maybe does, maybe doesn't know what goes on in Manhattan, but they've apparently done this before without incident, so they thought it was OK, they put him up to it."

Streaming platform Twitch released a statement saying, "We recognize that our audience and influence are growing, and with that comes greater responsibility. We are deeply disheartened by the outbreak of disorderly conduct that affected innocent people and businesses, and do not condone that behavior."

Cenat must report to court Aug. 18.

Most of the others arrested were released on summonses or desk appearance tickets.

Roberto Sessoms, 31, received the most serious charges and was charged with assaulting five police officers. Sessoms bit, spit and kicked five officers in the face causing severe bleeding, gashes, and lacerations after police officers responded to him behaving disorderly on an MTA bus, prosecutors said. He was held on $5,000 cash bail.

Three others were also arraigned over the weekend.

Kymani Jamieson, 24, was charged with obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest. Saeed Almonte, 19, was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Prosecutors said he danced on a taxi cab and resisted arrest. Angel John, 19, was charged with assault after he is accused of punching an officer during his arrest.

Additionally, an unnamed 15-year-old boy who threw eggs and full bottles of water was charged with attempted assault, obstructing governmental administration, and other counts. He will be handled in family court.

ALSO READ | Twitch streamer Kai Cenat's giveaway in Union Square causes chaos

Thousands of people overran Union Square Park and surrounded lanes of traffic Friday as a popular Twitch streamer held a video game giveaway.


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