NEW YORK – Chaos erupted Friday after a large, rowdy crowd gathered at Manhattan’s Union Square Park for livestreamer Kai Cenat’s giveaway.  

Some of the crowd could be seen tearing down construction barricades and hurling objects, including throwing some objects at responding police officers. 

New York City subways are skipping the Union Square station. 

As one vehicle attempted to leave – which may have been carrying Cenat – the crowd could be seen mobbing it. It moved slowly through throngs of people before eventually speeding off, with people clinging to the sides and back. At least three people could be seen tumbling off the vehicle onto the pavement as it sped away.   

Cenat was taken into police custody for questioning at around 5 p.m. CBS New York’s Marcia Kramer has learned exclusively Cenat did not have a permit for the event. 

Watch Chopper 2 over the scene

Chopper 2 Flying

Chopper 2 is checking out various stories around our area, including a crowd that has gathered in Union Square. Watch more on CBS News New York:

Posted by CBS New York on Friday, August 4, 2023

As the chaos unfolded, Chopper 2 was overhead and spotted people climbing on top of the roof covering the entrance to the Union Square subway station. One person was seen setting off a fire extinguisher, sending huge smoky plumes over the crowd.  

The crowd was apparently gathered there for Cenat’s giveaway – apparently he had planned to give away 300 PlayStations. Authorities estimated some 2,000 people showed up. 

While the crowd gathered as early as 1 p.m., the raucous behavior broke out roughly around 3 p.m. or so. 

The NYPD called for a massive response – a Level 4 mobilization, meaning roughly 1,000 officers – after people began demolishing construction barricades, throwing objects, and standing on top of the Union Square subway entrance. Several people could be seen being placed into custody. 

Responding officers, however, were not in riot gear, wearing helmets, or carrying shields – a clear difference from how they responded to George Floyd protests, for example. 

Some of the people at Union Square could be seen standing on top of cars and trucks.  

Much of the crowd was milling about peacefully. 

By 4:40 p.m., the crowd had thinned out significantly, but there were still plenty of people in the area. 

So far there have been no reports of serious injuries.   

Check back soon for more on this developing story.