Teen who kicked cat gets pre-trial intervention after guilty ple - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Teen who kicked cat gets pre-trial intervention after guilty plea

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Walter Easley and his mother Tarshia Easley in court. (Source: TheTandD.com) Walter Easley and his mother Tarshia Easley in court. (Source: TheTandD.com)
Boots the kitten. (Source: TheTandD.com) Boots the kitten. (Source: TheTandD.com)

A Midlands teen whose six-second video showing him kicking a kitten exploded online pleaded guilty Thursday to ill treatment of animals, maintaining his action was just a joke.

An Orangeburg County magistrate sentenced 17-year-old Walter Easley to pre-trial intervention, following a recommendation from the state, the Orangeburg Times and Democrat reports.

Easley was arrested August 19 on the misdemeanor charge, which carried a possible sentence of up to 60 days in jail.

Pre-trial intervention details are kept sealed by state law. PTI programs can consist of community service, classes and restitution and last up to a year.

Easley apologized several times in court.

"I didn't mean to cause harm to the animal. I wasn't doing it to, like, hurt the animal. ..." he told the court. "I wasn't trying to offend everybody. I was ... it was to be funny."

The magistrate also said "Boots," the kitten seen in the video, and other animals taken from the home could be returned.

"At this point, I don't think the court's going to take the cat away from them," said Magistrate Don West. "He's admitted it, kind of just being as a joke. He's admitted that."

The images that got him trouble were posted on the video-sharing site Vine, according to multiple international websites. A short video originally posted on July 28 shows two close-ups of Easley speaking to the camera before revealing a small orange cat walking on a porch near somebody's feet.

The next frame shows a hand hold the cat down and then a bare foot move toward the feline. Suddenly the cat can be seen airborne before landing several feet away in the grass. The cat appears to walk away.

Easley has since removed the video from Vine. The Daily Dot has posted a .gif version of the video here.

As the video made its rounds on internet, public outrage began to build.

An online petition titled, "Bring Walter Easley, the kitten kicker, to justice" has been signed over 4,700 times. Several websites have reported Easley has received death threats since posting the video.

The video also caught the attention of law enforcement.

An Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department incident report indicates an animal control officer alerted deputies to a video posted on YouTube depicting a young black man kicking a cat.

Deputies reported Easley used profane language regarding the cat being on his porch and then forcefully kicked the cat off the porch, the report states.

Authorities visited Easley at his school and read him his rights.

Easley told deputies he edited the video together and he did not kick the cat as hard as it looked. He said he tossed the cat in the air using his foot.

When deputies asked him how the cat ended up airborne and flipping through the air, Easley told them he had actually thrown the cat.

According to the report, Easley told deputies he got the idea while watching a Kevin Hart stand-up act with some friends. The act, according to Easley, referenced a cat drinking milk from a bowl.

Deputies determined Easley intentionally inflicted unnecessary pain on the cat by kicking and throwing it for entertainment, according to the report.

Easley was taken into custody later that evening after officers obtained an arrest warrant. Animal control officers took the cat and also removed other animals from the residence.

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