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- "We've lived in the shadows for far too long."
- —Gellert Grindelwald to Credence Barebone[src]
This attack occurred in December of 1926 after Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald infiltrated MACUSA by assuming the identity of the Director of Magical Security Percival Graves, allowing him to manipulate Credence Barebone into revealing the identity of a suspected Obscurial causing destruction in New York. Grindelwald did this in an attempt to gain the trust of the Obscurial and ultimately recruit him/her to his cause.
This attack resulted in Grindelwald's unmasking and capture by the MACUSA, the believed destruction of Credence Barebone, and a massive breach of the International Statute of Secrecy. Consequently, thousands of New York No-Majs were obliviated en masse through assistance from Newt Scamander in order to protect the American wizarding community.
In 1926, Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald infiltrated MACUSA by assuming the identity of Auror Percival Graves. Grindelwald believed the mysterious attacks occurring in New York City to be the work of a powerful Obscurial, which he felt would be a great asset for his plans of world domination. Using his disguise as Graves, Grindelwald came into regular contact with Credence Barebone. He believed Credence to be connected to the Obscurial due to a vision he received. Believing Credence was an orphaned Squib, Grindelwald emotionally manipulated him into helping him find the Obscurial. He did this with the promise of protecting him from his abusive adoptive mother and teaching him magic.
During this time, Grindelwald (as Graves) arrested Newt Scamander, whose escaped beasts were believed by the MACUSA to be the cause of the Obscurial's attacks. During his interrogation, Grindelwald discovered the Obscurus within Newt's suitcase, and in an effort to hide his tracks, had him and Tina Goldstein sentenced to death. Afterwards, he approached Credence after Mary Lou Barebone was killed by the Obscurial and had him track down his adopted sister Modesty Barebone, believing her to be the source of the Obscurus.
Rampage through the city
Once they found Modesty, Grindelwald cruelly rejected Credence, as he had no further use of him. This angered Credence, who then revealed that he was the Obscurial, much to Grindelwald's surprise. Grindelwald attempted to convince Credence that he had nothing to fear anymore and to join his ranks, but this further angered Credence who began rampaging through the city.
Seeing the attack unfold, Grindelwald followed Credence, intriguing Jacob Kowalski and Queenie Goldstein, but more so Newt Scamander and Queenie's sister Tina. Jacob wanted to interfere, but Queenie told him he should not go and she should stay with him for his own safety.
Newt began searching for Grindelwald, but the latter had already been confronted by Tina. Still thinking she was confronting Graves, Tina fired several spells at him, which he blocked before locking wands in Priori Incantatem. With his free hand, Graves threw a car at her. Telling her that she always showed up at the worst time, Graves Disapparated. Tina, who had needed both hands to hold off Grindelwald's beam of light and was thus unable to effectively counter the car, nevertheless was hardly dazed, and she immediately resumed her feet and continued the chase.
Watching the attack unfold, President Seraphina Picquery feared for both the peace and secrecy of the wizarding world and instructed her Aurors to contain the threat. At the same time, other members of her crew conjured a magical barrier which Newt narrowly avoided. Recalling the grievous assault on his son, Henry Shaw fought, along with his other son Langdon, to make his way through the crowd standing before the barrier, declaring his intent to get justice, and ordered his photographers to take as many photographs and angrily vowed to expose wizardkind.
Skirmish in the subway station
Meanwhile, Credence disappeared into a subway station. Newt arrived and told the Obscurial of a girl with his disease that was currently deceased, calming Credence. He allowed Newt to approach him. When Newt was close to calming Credence for good, Grindelwald appeared out of nowhere, ambushing Newt whilst magically throwing Credence out of a train's path. Newt blocked him with two Shield Charms, but was unable to counter a series of spinning metal objects that caused him to lose grip of his wand. With his opponent disarmed, Grindelwald tortured him with the Dark Arts. Provoked by the fight, Credence resumed his Obscurial form, ripping apart much of the station and forcing Newt and Grindelwald to frequently Apparate in order to defend themselves. The Obscurial burst out of the ground, eliciting shock from those impeded by MACUSA's shield, before disappearing back into the ground, causing pounds of rubble to rain down on the cement below.
At that moment, Tina came rushing inside, begging Credence to cease his assault. When she acknowledged his motives, Credence's Obscurial began to waver and his face began showing through the black smoke, exposing his tormented features to her. Tina told him that in spite of the suffering he'd endured, he needed to revert to his human form and not allow Grindelwald to use him for his power.
Grindelwald immediately claimed he only wanted Credence to know freedom, but before Tina could contradict him, President Picquery and her other Aurors appeared on the scene, and she ordered them to attack the Obscurus. Tina and Grindelwald both demanded they stand down. Acting on her orders they ignored both parties and did as they were told and opened fire. As Tina cried out in protest and MACUSA finally lowered the shield, Credence screamed, feeling more pain than he had in his entire life, before his form imploded in a release of black energy dominated by a ball of white light that threw Grindelwald, Tina, and Newt to the ground. Without everyone's knowledge, Credence survived because his Obscurus form rendered him invincible, and took flight to the remains of the Second Salem Church.
Exposure of Gellert Grindelwald
With Credence being seemingly destroyed at the Aurors' hands, Grindelwald was so beside himself with rage, that he, lead by his extreme idealism, began to break his disguise, expressing his utter disgust for being forced to hide from the No-Majs. When he stated that he refused to submit anymore, Picquery subsequently ordered the other Aurors to bring "Percival Graves" in. He turned to flee, but they conjured an impenetrable shield in front of him. Deciding to lay waste to his enemies as an alternative, and no longer suppressing his tremendous magical prowess, Grindelwald gave battle against all of the Aurors simultaneously (much to the President's shock and dismay). He gradually brought them down one after the other, until Newt finally managed to catch him off-guard with his Swooping Evil and restrained Grindelwald's hands from behind, while Tina used a Summoning Charm to take Graves' wand. Newt cast the Revelio Charm, making Grindelwald's disguise fade away, revealing his true face
Even apprehended, Grindelwald was unfazed, arrogantly questioning President Picquery's ability to contain a wizard of his reputation and power. As he was lead away, Grindelwald met Newt's gaze and mysteriously asked him: "Will we die, just a little?"
President Picquery apologised to Newt, but lamented over the fact that the MACUSA would be unable to handle fixing the serious magical exposure in New York. Fortunately, Newt (who had also been the only one to witness Credence's survival and escape) employed the help of Frank the Thunderbird to create a rain laced with Swooping Evil venom, whose obliviating properties erased the bad memories of the No-Maj citizens of New York, including his friend Kowalski. The MACUSA then, via use of its top Aurors called to New York, set about repairing the property damage caused by the attack throughout the city.