(KENOSHA, Wis.) — A juror in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial was dismissed Thursday after a court security officer reported that the man told a joke about the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which set off protests in the Wisconsin city where Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three people.
Bruce Schroeder of Kenosha County Circuit said this week that the security officer had reported the comments to him. Thomas Binger, the prosecutor said that the comments as shared were racial biased. Blake (Black) was partially paralyzed after he was shot and killed by a Kenosha officer of police.
When Schroeder called the juror into the courtroom to discuss what he said, the juror said he didn’t want to repeat his comments. But Schroeder said it was “clear that the appearance of bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case” and that the juror would be dismissed.
The juror then responded: “It wasn’t anything to do with the case. It wasn’t anything to do with Kyle.”
Learn more Tensions over race and policing began in Kenosha (Wis.) long before the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse (18), Antioch, Illinois killed two and injures a third person during an August 2020 demonstration against police brutality at Kenosha. Protests began after a police officer fatally shot Blake in his back responding to a domestic disturbance report. Blake, who was fighting with officers and was carrying a knife, started the protests. The officer was later not charged by the county prosecutor.
Twenty jurors were seated this week for Rittenhouse’s trial on homicide and other charges, with Schroeder saying he would decide later which 12 would decide the case and which would be alternates.
Rittenhouse said that he attended the protest to prevent businesses being injured by the demonstrators. He could be sentenced to life in prison in this politically divisive case. Rittenhouse is being accused by the prosecution of inciting the bloodshed. His lawyer however claims Rittenhouse acted in self defense.