What was meant to be a social media giveaway turned into chaos in New York City’s Union Square on Friday as a massive crowd swarmed the park in anticipation of a computer or PlayStation win.
New York City Playstation giveaway devolves into street chaos as police officers dodge flying projectiles https://t.co/5OR0uqZmO5
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 4, 2023
The event, organized by social media influencer Kai Cenat, quickly spiraled out of control, leaving police officers injured and facing a barrage of bottles, rocks, and fireworks.
The tension had been building all day after Cenat’s tweet announcing the giveaway slated to hold at 3:30 p.m. By the time the event was set to start, Union Square was teeming with eager participants. However, things took a dangerous turn as the crowd grew unruly in their thousands, ignoring orders to disperse from the police.
Despite the NYPD’s presence, the situation soon turned volatile as tensions escalated.
During a press conference, New York Police Chief Department Jeffrey Maddrey expressed his concern about the dangerous situation that unfolded. “We were crushed. We were pushed. I had officers on the floor,” he stated.
Maddrey himself was among those injured during the chaos.
As the situation unfolded, people were seen climbing on vehicles and even pounding on the side of a city bus. Video footage captured individuals hurling bottles at police officers and engaging in unruly behavior. A level four mobilization had to be issued to deal with the escalating situation as things reached a level of danger that alarmed authorities.
In the aftermath, a total of 65 arrests were made, with 30 of the detainees being juveniles. Kai Cenat, the social media influencer behind the event, was also taken into custody by law enforcement. He is facing charges of inciting a riot and unlawful assembly, among others. Per NBC News, he will be appearing in court at a later date.
Paul Mauro, an attorney and former NYPD inspector, shared his legal insights regarding the situation, saying, “You, of course, need to communicate with the police and generally get a permit. If this person did not do that, and we have these sorts of results, he could very well be held liable.”
The police spokesperson emphasized the role of social media in drawing such a massive crowd and condemned the dangerous outcomes of unregulated gatherings.
Maddrey pointed out the importance of social media accountability, saying that the chaos “speaks to the power of social media and the danger of social media.”