Kai Cenat, a popular Twitch star, was charged with inciting a riot Friday after thousands of people descended on Union Square in Manhattan after Cenat posted about a videogame giveaway.
Kai was let go from jail on Saturday after being issued a desk appearance ticket. According to a police spokesperson, the 21-year-old YouTuber is set to make a court appearance on August 18.
The New York Police Department initially declared that Kai would be charged with incitement of a riot and unlawful assembly for drawing a huge crowd to Union Square in Manhattan that led to arrests and injuries. New York City Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey explained that Kai made a post on social media “encouraging all of his followers to come to the park” because he was about to give away PS5 consoles and gift cards.
“Approximately 3 P.M., the post went viral and thousands of people began to arrive at Union Square, soon to park and the surrounding streets were overrun with people, Jeffrey continued. “They were obstructing both vehicular and pedestrian traffic… The NYPD responded by calling the mobilization in response to the large crowd. The crowd was swarmed when the influencer finally arrived at the park. Individuals in the park begin to commit acts of violence towards the police and the public.”
“We had people walking around with shovels, axes and other tools from a construction trade. Additionally, individuals were also lighting fireworks and they were throwing them towards the police and towards each other,” Jeffrey further elaborated. “We were able to eventually get [Kai] out of the park and remove him for safety reasons.”
Not everyone agreed with Kai’s arrest though. Among those who sided with the live streamer was Offset, who argued on Twitter, “How you lock Kai up for giving back to his fans…. New York be trippin!!!” NLE Choppa, meanwhile, opined, “Y’all don’t even charge the KKK When they do that negative s**t but charge a successful black man for giving back. The system so designed for us to fail it don’t make sense !”
“Ian saying what he did what’s done correctly of course it’s something he could’ve done better,” the 20-year-old Memphis rapper continued. “But his intentions were pure that’s all that matter, he wanted to help, give back, inspire, and most importantly spread love.”
The charges include at least two counts of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly.