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June 13, 2014 at 10:49 AMComments: 6 Faves: 0

Man on Trial After Cat-Kicking Video Went Viral: Will There be Justice for King? UPDATE ON CASE

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This Author

If you haven’t seen this now viral video, be warned – it’s hard to watch.

A young man bends down and extending his hand with a treat for a hesitant cat, encouraging it to come closer. Sniffing after the treat, the man guides the cat around in a circle. Innocent enough, but as the cat turns facing sideways, he quickly stands up, rears back, and kicks the poor cat in the stomach! Launching it 10 feet into the air and 20 feet out over a fence, his friends can be heard laughing as he looks to the camera smiling widely, laughing, even doing a little dance he was so pleased with himself.

Disgusting.

Obviously, proud of his “hilarious” stunt, someone with access to the video (most likely one of his friends) later posted it to Facebook. Unfortunately for the man though, not all of his friends found it as funny as those in the video seemed to.  Outraged animal lovers quickly descended on the footage and through their sleuthing, helped the NYPD uncover the identity of the cat kicker – a Brooklynite, Andre Robinson who, as it turns out, has a history of run-ins with the law. At the time he was arrested and admitted to jail for the night before his hearing on the cat, the 21 year old had already racked up 8 prior arrests including one for a knife-point robbery in 2011.

At his hearing the next day, prosecutor Besty Grobovsky addressed the court unemotionally explaining simply that, “The defendant kicked the cat, causing the cat to fly approximately eight to 10 feet up in the air.” Then, she added “faced the camera and maniacally laughed.” Fitting the crime in her estimation, she asked that he be held on a $5,000 bond. Meanwhile, Robinson’s defense lawyer William Hair played dumb.

While admitting he hadn’t ACTUALLY seen the thing - which makes sense as he is legally blind (one has to wonder whether he was chosen for just that reason...), he claimed it was “unclear who is in the video.” Assumedly, trying to redeem him in the public eye, he also pointed out that Robinson had been employed for two whole years. (wow-ee!) Seems Mr. Hair was the only one claiming Robinsons’ innocence though.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

Wearing the same sneakers seen in the video, Robinson himself admitted to “place-kicking” the cat (since dubbed ‘King’). His mother, Mary Kirby, also went on the record as saying her boy was “the individual depicted in the above-described video recording.” Mom says he’s guilty, Robinson says he’s guilty, prosecutor says he’s guilty and should be held for $5,000, but even yet, Brooklyn’s Criminal Court Judge Jane Tully decided to let him go on NO bail, setting his next court date for this past Monday, the 9th.  

“I’m free mom!” he was reported announcing, “I’m going home.”

Later, reporters looking for a statement were greeted by mom instead who jumped to his defense. “That cat is fine, I told y’all the cat is fine! There’s nothing wrong with that cat.” she proclaimed. Meanwhile, Robinson hid behind her, sullen and saying nothing.

While none of Robinsons’ laughing friends (Huh! Where’d they all go?) and a few dozen anti-animal abuse demonstrators showed up to demand justice on the Monday the 9th court date just past, the whole thing lasted only two minutes before being adjourned once more - this time till the end of July.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

“The cat can’t talk so somebody has to step up and say ‘this animal is worthwhile.’ The voiceless need a voice,” one demonstrator told a reporter following the proceedings.  Walking alongside Robinson down the hallway, her and fellow demonstrators hissed and held signs. “Don’t say anything,” his mother advised him, “Leave the assholes alone.”

Robinson’s supportive family hasn’t impressed those looking for justice.

“His mother needs to know we’re not going to be intimidated,” said Kiri Blakely.  And his brother’s recent letter to the press?

“I am the older brother of Andre Robinson, and what he did was reprehensible and beyond childish. That being said, it does not make him a disposable person or someone to be characterized as a potential ‘serial killer.”

This matter is being seriously addressed within our family, as it should be. An animal lover myself, I was deeply wounded and disheartened to witness the video of him kicking the cat. Had I been present, not only would the incident not have taken place, but had it happened, the cat would not have been the only one hurting.

I am appalled that in a world where terrorists slaughter innocent people, nations invade neighbors with impunity and young men like Trayvon Martin are routinely gunned down in America’s streets, the cover of your May 7 paper was a picture of my brother being called a ‘pussy.’ Be honest. Had Andre been a young white man from the right neighborhood caught doing the exact same act, would your headline and coverage have been the same? – Anthony Kirby”

Oh. The race card. Well, “Justice for King” a facebook group page with over 11,000 ‘likes’ had their response:

“Dear Anthony,

… Let's set one thing straight - had your brother been white, green, yellow, pin-striped or emblazoned with polka dots, the same outrage and demand for justice would have been expressed and sought. I have no faith in your claim that the matter is being addressed within the family! How did your family address his priors - from the first straight through to the eighth? ...I find it very noble of you to state that the incident wouldn't have happened had you been present. But you know what? You weren't and it did happen, so your hind-sight attempt at playing the hero is really irrelevant. 

…Instead of your family being appalled by what happened, your mother's defense is that he must have been high! ...This is not an incident that has stirred local outrage. People around the world are aware of his act and are sick and tired of animal abusers getting off with a slap on the wrist. We will be damned if we are going to sit back and not try our hardest to ensure that justice is served and changes are made….”

As for King at least though, the story has a happy ending.

Local residents immediately recognized the friendly stray and set the NYPD and North Shore Animal League on the right track to finding him. “It certainly wasn’t easy, he was terrified. When cats are scared they don’t want to go where you want them to go,” explained Dorit Shani from the North Shore group. They chased him under cars and behind trash containers for 2 and ½ hours before successfully luring King into a cage to be examined by a veterinarian at the ASPCA Animal Hospital.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

Photo Credit: New York Daily News


Photo Credit: New York Daily News

“King suffered tissue injuries as a result of the trauma, and was treated with painkillers,” senior vice president of the ASPCA, Gail Buchwald told reporters. The sweet gray and white mustached boy was held for approximately two weeks before the staff there felt he was recovered and ready for adoption. As you might imagine though, there was already a long list of people looking to adopt King and it didn’t take long to find him a new loving forever family. Now as King is finally getting the pampering and life his new title merits, the only question that remains is just how his attacker will be punished.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News


Photo Credit: New York Daily News

The Root of the Problem

Will Robinson get what he deserves?  

Unfortunately, as shocking as King’s story is, most of us have heard similar in abundance. While I’m not personally a proponent of unequal punishment for like crimes – “making an example” of a person, as it were – the case raises deeper issues extending beyond this particular incident. A growing and vocal number of us are fed up with the lack of adequate repercussion for animal abuse and the misinformation and public condoning of it.

Too many people – even normally kind, gentle people - still don’t know they shouldn’t physically punish an animal. When a cat or dog acts in a way they don’t like, many believe hurting them – hitting them, scruffing them, throwing them, kicking them… - is the only way to teach them not to. While in this case, Robinson clearly wasn’t trying to correct the cat or punish it, one can see how the idea that kicking a cat for amusement is okay might evolve from the idea that kicking a cat for punishment is okay. Children who grow up seeing their parents or others punishing animals in this way may laugh to see the animal’s startled reaction. As they grow older, some may even see it as a form of entertainment.  

To illustrate a point, as disgusted as I am by Robinson’s and his friend’s behavior, I don’t believe they’d have taped a video hooting and laughing kicking a human toddler.  While, granted, there will always be a few lone, crazy sadistic people among us who would hurt people regardless of what anyone else might think, these people would be hard-pressed to find a group of friends who would laugh with them as they did it, and they’d never think posting it to Facebook would impress or go over well. There’s a strong, united societal stance against abusing children. The same isn’t so with animal abuse.

I know a fair amount of people will wish violence against Robinson and cry out for the most extreme punishment, but I don't see either as solving the core problem. My opinion? The best way to stop this sort of behavior is not to simply punish as it occurs (though consequences should occur and definitely be stepped up in many cases), but to start from the root issue and quash the misinformation surrounding the physical punishment of animals. We need to take a united stance against hitting, scruffing, throwing, and kicking animals – for ANY reason – and to set an example for our children.

Agree? Disagree?

What do you think of this?

How do you think Robinson should be punished?

UPDATES:

Oct 22nd, 2014: Andre Robinson Finally Comments on the Case in Brooklyn Criminal Court

While trials and sentencing on the case have been underway since May of this year, Andre Robinson has said almost nothing on the incident until a recent impromptu interview.  As you might imagine, however, there was hardly any reasonable excuse that could be offered.

Why'd you kick the cat, Andre?

"It was just a spur of the moment, it just happened." It seemed to be begging for some of the Chinese food his friend was carrying. 

Oh, well, then, in that case... * rolling eyes*

People who see me on the street "frown their faces like I'm a bad person...It was bothering me. It rubbed against my leg. I was trying to shoo it away, but it didn't go away. I figured if I kicked it, it would go away... From what I see the cat's been adopted. It doesn't look like there's anything wrong with the cat,"

Surprisingly, the activists who have been following the case and rallying to make an example of Robinson, weren't impressed.

"These things never 'just happen'... there needs to be accountability." said one.

There's been more than one incident between these activists and Robinson's mother. A shoving match allegedly broke out when they tried to board the same elevator she was on at the court house.

Mama may be  the only person still defending his actions at this point. In fact, even as Robinson began a mumbled apology after being asked "Would you like to say sorry to King?" his mother cut him off.  "You want him to apologize to a cat?"

Well, yeah. Kind of. Now that you mention it, some display of remorse or indication that your son realizes what he did was wrong, would be nice! 

Andre Robinson currently faces up to a year in prison if convicted. 

Jan 8, 2015: Judge Knocks Down Animal Cruelty Charges Against Cat Kicker

Citing "no evidence the cat was actually hurt" ShawnDya Simpson, the Brooklyn judge overseeing Andre's case has reduced charges to those with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. 

"It could be that the cat was injured. It could be that the cat was fine. We don't know. There are no allegations that the animal was examined for injuries or that there was any significant pain from the defendant's actions. The degree to which the animal is said to have traveled also does not establish sufficiently that the cat suffered significant pain or was injured." 

Really seems hard to believe, doesn't it? I mean the ASPCA's own vice president cited tissue damage and the need to administer pain killers. I can only think something must not have been handled as it should have been when King was admitted to the animal hospital. That justice is being cheated by some legal technicality - a form filled out incorrectly, or some such silly bureaucracy.

The animal activists who have been attending these hearings say they are disappointed, but are not going to stop coming. 

After all, "Who will speak for the cat? How will the cat defend itself?" asked one such activist, Maria Clara.

Trial under these new charges will take place January 20.

Jan 20, 2015: Cat-Kicker Rejects 30-Day Jail Deal

While even with a reduced charge, Andre Robinson faces up to 90 days in jail, he still seems convinced no punishment is owed. When presented with a considerably more lenient 30 day jail deal, Robinson maintained his innocence, while his scumbag lawyer Risa Procton tried to argue that what we all saw in the video was "not a kick."

"You keep saying it's a kick. It's not a kick. That's a misrepresentation."

A misrepresentation. Huh. So, if wasn't a kick we saw, what do you call that "forceful thrust with the foot" (the actual definition of kick)? Was he spasming?  Leaping? Dancing a jig?

Brookyln's Assistant District Attorney wasn't buying it either. "Have you seen the video?"

"Yes. I've seen it 400 times!" Procton retorted.

Animal activists aren't happy with the even further reduction in penalty being discussed, but say they are glad there will at least be some jail time.

"A strike is a strike. You don't throw a strike at any living creature without attempting to injure." says president of rights group Animal Battalion, Robert Bannelli. 

Still, it remains to be seen what punishment (if any!) Robinson will actually face. :/

May 20, 2015: "Arrest Warrant Issued for Man Charged in Cat-Kick Video"

While judgement STILL has yet to be issued on his animal cruelty charge, an arrest warrant has been issued for Robinson who missed a court date in Brooklyn because he was locked up in Middle River Regional Jail in Virginia. Staunton city police had arrested him on three counts of felony credit card fraud - something new and exciting to add to his list of 9 prior charges!

So, how's that "handling things within the family" thing going, Mama? *rolls eyes*

By any rate, Virginia prosecutors do say Robinson will be shipped back to face his animal cruelty charges before bringing him back for the fraud.

I'm crossing fingers for a just repercussion after all.

Source:

New York Daily News

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6 Comments

  • He deserves punishment to help deter others like him from doing the same or worse just to have a good laugh. It is not funny. Animals definitely feel pain and deserve to be treated with respect. I don't know what the answer is, but he should not just get a "slap on the wrist" for kicking an animal.

  • Yes he most certainly be punished. Also he should Never be able to own or adopt any animal ever!

  • What a sissy punk.He needs punishment ,jail and mental health help, so does his mother and his race card carrying brother !

  • simpson and procton should also be put in jail.

  • HE MUST PAYING WITH JAIL BECAUSE HE IS AN ABUSER . AND HAS RECORD OF HAVING PROBLEMS WITH THE LAW.

  • I could not bear to see this video so I did not watch it. I probably would not be able to sleep a few nights if I did. That man who kicked that cat has psychological issues that need to be addressed. Real deep-rooted childhood issues that go beyond. He needs a good Psychiatrist and a jail sentence for animal cruelty.

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