Kenosha County Judge Bruce Schroeder removed a juror from the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse Thursday after the juror reportedly made a joke to a courtroom deputy about the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The juror did not wish to repeat the joke on Thursday. However, prosecutor Thomas Binger told Schroeder that “It was my understanding it was something along the lines of, ‘Why did the Kenosha police shoot Jacob Blake seven times?’ Because they ran out of bullets.”
“You began to tell a joke about the shooting of Jacob Blake.” Schroeder said to the juror. “I think the best thing, under the circumstances, is I’m going to dismiss you from the jury.”
The juror responded, stating that it was his feeling that the joke he made on Wednesday did not have anything to do with Rittenhouse’s case. Schroeder maintained his position that the joke was made in “bad judgement,” and that he wanted to keep public confidence in the trial.
Schroeder also mentioned that the juror’s joke made clear the appearance of bias, which could “undermine” the case’s outcome.
Rittenhouse’s trial began on Tuesday. He has pleaded not-guilty to two counts of homicide, one attempted homicide, two of reckless endangerment for shooting his weapon while around other people, and the dangerous possession of a weapon by a minor.
Blake was shot seven times during a confrontation with police officers in Kenosha on Aug. 23, 2020 with the encounter leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. At the time, police were following a warrant for Blake’s arrest for an alleged felony sexual assault, although the charges would later be dropped as part of a deal, with Blake pleading guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct.
Following Blake’s shooting, civil unrest in Kenosha led to then 17-year-old Rittenhouse traveling to the city. While in Kenosha, Rittenhouse would allegedly shoot three people, killing two on the night of Aug. 25, 2020.
“So people are getting injured, and our job is to protect this business, and a part of my job is to also help people,” Rittenhouse told the Daily Caller at the time, prior to the shooting. “If there’s somebody hurt, I’m running into harm’s way. That’s why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself, obviously. But I also have my med kit.”
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