Kyle Rittenhouse Juror Dismissed Over Joke About Jacob Blake Shooting That Sparked Protests

Kyle Rittenhouse Juror Dismissed Over Joke About Jacob Blake
Shooting That Sparked Protests 1

The judge overseeing the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has dismissed a juror who made a joke about Jacob Blake due to concerns prejudice would interrupt case results.

Rittenhouse, who is charged with fatally shooting two men and injuring a third during a Kenosha, Wisconsin protest over racial injustice, has been fighting his sentence on the basis of self-defense and Second Amendment rights.

Before testimony continued on Thursday, Circuit Judge Bruce Schroder discharged a juror who made a joke to a court security guard about Jacob Blake—the man shot by police who caused the racial unrest in Kenosha.

According to the Associated Press, the juror, a retired white man, wouldn’t repeat the joke for Schroder.

“It is clear that the appearance of bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case,” Schroder said.

The challenge to find impartial jurors for high-profile and heavily covered cases is not uncommon.

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For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

The U.S. watches closely as the Kyle Rittenhouse trial unfolds. In this August 25, 2020, file photo, Rittenhouse carries a weapon as he walks along Sheridan Road in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a night of unrest following the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Adam Rogan/AP File

Rittenhouse, now 18, could get life in prison if convicted in the politically polarizing case that has stirred furious debate over self-defense, vigilantism, the right to bear arms and the racial unrest that erupted around the U.S. after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other cases like it.

Rittenhouse said he went there to protect property after two nights in which rioters set fires and ransacked businesses in the wake of Blake’s shooting by a white Kenosha officer.

Prosecutors have portrayed Rittenhouse as the instigator of the bloodshed, while his lawyer argued that he acted in self-defense after Rosenbaum tried to grab his gun and others in the crowd kicked him in the face and hit him in the head with a skateboard.

In the courtroom, Rittenhouse—seated in the jurors’ line of sight—kept his eyes fixed on a desktop screen and showed no emotion as video depicted him walking down a street with his rifle and shooting at protesters, people scattering and screaming.

Jurors peered at infrared video made by an FBI surveillance plane from almost 9,000 feet above the spot where Rittenhouse shot 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum. With colored circles superimposed on the video identifying the movements of the two men below, Kenosha Police Detective Martin Howard agreed with defense attorney Mark Richards that Rittenhouse had repeatedly shouted “Friendly!” as he was being chased and that Rosenbaum appeared to be gaining ground on Rittenhouse.

Howard, the detective, detailed injuries Rittenhouse suffered that night, all seemingly minor: A half-inch scratch above his eyebrow, a small cut inside his lower lip, a 2-inch scratch below his collarbone, a 2-inch scratch on his forearm, a scratch on his back and two bumps the size of pennies on his head.

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