Perp who bit police officers at Union Square riot last year gets 2 to 5 years in prison

The riot in Union Square.
The riot in Union Square.
File photo by Dean Moses

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced Wednesday the sentencing of a man who assaulted five NYPD officers — biting three of them so hard that they bled — during a riot in Union Square last year. 

Roberto Sessoms, 31, of Queens, was sentenced to two to five years in state prison for assault after he bit, kicked and spat on NYPD police officers during a headline-making riot that drew thousands of people to Union Square on Aug. 3, 2023.

Master-minding the event was social media influencer Kai Carlo Cenat, who, in a failed publicity stunt, promised to give away free PS5 game systems to his fans if they met him at Union Square. 

It is unclear if any free giveaways were actually distributed, but Cenat bolted for safety once a mostly calm gathering turned violent. He was later detained by police and faced two counts of inciting a riot. 

Spectators, mostly teenagers and young adults, began pushing and shoving each other, vandalizing property and surrounding cars.

Police responded to the scene in an attempt to get the crowd under control but became victims themselves. Many spectators hurled objects at police — including Chief of Department Jeff Maddrey — causing them to duck for cover. 

There were so many people arrested as a result of the mayhem that police had to use an MTA bus to contain the suspects and easily transport them to the local police station.

One of those suspects was Sessoms. According to court documents and statements made on the record, at approximately 4:30 p.m., police officers arrested Sessoms for disorderly conduct and put him on the bus. 

But Sessoms’ criminal activity was not over. While on the bus, he bit three officers so hard that they bled. He then kicked another officer in the stomach, causing him to fall backwards into the bus railing and almost fall off the bus, injuring his back. Sessoms then kicked another officer in the face. 

Sessoms was convicted of four counts of attempted assault in the second degree and received two to four years in state prison. He was not convicted of charges relating to disorderly conduct. 

“Attacking police officers is unequivocally intolerable and unacceptable. Officers at the scene of this incident were already dealing with a chaotic situation where thousands were arrested, and then had to experience the despicable actions by this defendant. I thank the members of the NYPD who do so much to keep New Yorkers safe, and we will continue to pursue accountability against those who attempt to harm our officers in uniform,” Bragg said. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant D.A. Diane Eze.