NYPD seek help identifying more suspects after Twitch influencer Kai Cenat giveaway devolves into massive riot

Cenat's PlayStation giveaway devolved into a riot involving thousands of young people

The New York City Police Department on Sunday released four new images and asked the public for help identifying more suspects in the massive riot involving thousands of teens who swarmed Manhattan’s Union Square after Twitch influencer Kai Cenat advertised an unsanctioned PlayStation giveaway. 

NYPD Crime Stoppers said those depicted in the photos were wanted for criminal mischief. 

At approximately 3:50 p.m. Friday, police said the suspects caused damage to vehicles by kicking and jumping on them while they were parked in the area of 14th St. and Union Square East. 

The photos show a chaotic scene of teens and young people dressed in mostly black attire, as some pouncing on top of a car. One person, whose face is hidden by a mask, appears to hold his fists up in a fighting position as other onlookers record on their cell phones. Anyone with information is asked to call 800-577-TIPS or use http://crimestoppers.nypdonline.org for a reward of up to $3,500. 


Union Square rioters in the street and on a vehicle

The NYPD is seeking information on the Union Square suspects accused of causing damage to vehicles by kicking and jumping on them Friday afternoon. ( NYPD Crime Stoppers)

The New York Post reported that on Sunday police released additional photos of six of eight "baby faced" suspects, believed to be between the ages 14 and 18, wanted for allegedly kicking, jumping and dancing on top of a parked NYPD vehicle during the massive melee. 

The NYPD did not immediately return a request for the images Monday nor a Sunday request seeking more information about alleged "outside agitators," which New York City Mayor Eric Adams had referenced in connection to the Union Square riot during an unrelated press conference Saturday. 

Rioter on top of car during Union Square chaos

A person jumps on the top of a car as another punctures the tire near Union Square park, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

"We are further looking into were there even some outside agitators. You don't come to get free Game Boys and bring smoke bombs and bring M-80s and bring other disruptive items," Adams said, mentioning a different video gaming system. "We believe there were some outside influencers that may have attempted to aggravate this situation."


Police say Cenat, a 21-year-old social media influencer who boasts millions of followers across platforms that include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Twitch, was removed Friday afternoon from the crowd that quickly swelled to thousands of kids and teens, prompting the NYPD to call for a Level 4 Mobilization, the highest disaster response for the department. 

Kai Cenat rioters kick and jump on vehicles

People jump and kick a car as a crowd runs through the street on Broadway near Union Square, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bobby Calvan)

Cenat is facing multiple charges, including at least two counts of inciting a riot, as well as unlawful assembly, and was released Saturday after being issued a desk appearance ticket. 

At a prior press conference Friday night, NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said 65 people were arrested, 30 of them juveniles. 

Maddrey said young people destroyed NYPD vehicles, including his own, damaged food carts and grabbed plates from people dining outside on the street and threw them at officers. A 17-year-old was at Bellevue Hospital with injuries determined to be from fireworks debris. Video showed crowds chanting vulgar anti-NYPD slogans. 

Explosion goes off amid riot in Union Square

Police officers set off a smoke bomb in order to disperse a crowd, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in New York's Union Square. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

"When you have M-80s and heavy-duty explosives being thrown around a crowd of thousands of people, you’re talking about a very dangerous chaotic situation. We can’t let this happen here. We can’t let this happen with our young people," Maddrey said.

Both Adams and Maddrey issued warnings to the parents of those young people involved in the riot, with the mayor remarking that "our children cannot be raised by social media." 

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