There's little dispute that Andre Robinson punted a cat up to 20 feet in the air earlier this year on video -- but his lawyers claim that nobody can prove the cat was injured.
A motion to dismiss the 22-year-old's animal abuse case in Brooklyn, New York on Monday drew hisses from a crowd of activists in court, according to The New York Daily News. It argues that prosecutors never specifically alleged that Robinson inflicted pain on the cat.
Prosecutors' initial complaint quoted a veterinarian who watched the video -- posted to Facebook in May -- saying that the kick "would cause serious physical injury to the above described cat." But Robinson's defense is latching onto the word "would." They argue that prosecutors never actually said the cat did suffer an injury.
“This really gets me agitated,” Margaret Lee, an activist who’s attended each of Robinson’s court appearances, said when told about the semantic argument.
“The video clearly shows heartless and cruel behavior with the objective of being mean for the amusement of himself and his friends,” she added.
In the disturbing video, Robinson can be seen approaching the cat and luring it toward him, only to kick it into the air as his giggling friends look on. The video quickly went viral, and Facebook users tracked him down.
The cat, since named King, was seen running around the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn after the alleged attack. He was caught, treated and later adopted.
Robinson has since apologized for the act. He faces up to a year in jail for a charge of torturing and injuring animals, a misdemeanor. The charge reportedly doesn't require proof of significant injury, and it'll be unclear until January whether the motion to dismiss will be granted.
He has eight prior arrests, including one on suspicion knifepoint robbery in 2011, the New York Daily News reports.