ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - An Orangeburg County teenager reportedly seen on a video that exploded online has been charged with cruelty to animals after authorities deemed he kicked a cat from a porch to a yard.
Walter Easley, 17, of Cordova, appeared in front of an Orangeburg County magistrate Tuesday to face the charges.
Easley was arrested Monday on the misdemeanor charge, which carries a sentence of up to 60 days in jail if he's found guilty.
The images that got him trouble were posted on the video-sharing site Vine, according to multiple international websites. A six-second 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.
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 3,000 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 Monday 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 at the residence.
The teen's next court appearance is scheduled for September 12.