Teen charged after cat-kicking video goes viral
ORANGEBURG, SC - An Orangeburg County teen who drew international attention — and wrath — for what authorities say is a video of him bragging about kicking a kitten has been charged.
Walter Easley, 17, of Cordova, went before a county magistrate Tuesday to face a charge of cruelty to animals in what has become the kick seen ‘round the world.
Easley was arrested on Monday. His next court date is scheduled for Sept. 12. The charge is a misdemeanor that carries a 60-day maximum sentence, if he’s convicted.
Attempts to reach the youth were unsuccessful. While no phone number is listed, police say the teen’s face — and his foot — are seen in a video that went viral after being posted to the Internet on July 28.
Posted on news outlet websites such as London’s The Daily Mail and the Guardian, the video shows a male asking in a profanity-laced statement, “What’s wrong with that cat?”
The video shows a teen’s face before the camera is turned toward a deck where a ginger kitten is located. Someone’s foot then launches the kitten into the yard, where it tumbles to the ground.
The Times and Democrat has made a decision not to post the short clip, which reportedly first appeared on the video-sharing website Vine. The video has since been removed from Vine.
Officers examined the kitten, which was seized by Orangeburg County Animal Control officers. It was not reported to be injured. Other animals at the residence were taken into custody as well, according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report.
International website commenters have called the action callous and cruel, reserving harsher monikers, including “monster,” for the perpetrator.
Multiple international websites report that Easley received death threats after the video began to be picked up by more outlets.
An online petition called “Bring Walter Easley, the kitten kicker, to justice,” has been created since the video hit the Internet. As of Tuesday, the petition had more than 2,680 online signatures with a goal of 10,000.
As the video went viral, Orangeburg County Animal Control officers were notified of the possibility of an abuse case and began an investigation.
On Monday, Animal Control and law enforcement officers spoke with the youth about the incident at his school. After stating he understood his Miranda rights, the youth told authorities he was “hanging with some friends” when they came up with the idea after watching a stand up routine by comedian Kevin Hart, who joked about a cat drinking milk from a bowl.
Hart’s stage routine has no live cats in his YouTube video. There are no messages by Hart to harm animals either.
According to an Orangeburg County incident report, the youth said the video had been edited. He said in reality, “he did not actually kick the cat as hard as it appears on the video.” He claimed he only tossed the cat into the air with his foot rather than kicking it.
When the officers asked how the cat “ended up airborne and flipping through the air,” the youth said he “did throw the cat off the porch to make it look like he kicked it for the video.”
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