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The male juror made the comment while being escorted to his car by a deputy, CNN reports.
"I'm going to summarize what I remember, what I was told," Judge Bruce Schroeder said in court on Thursday morning before he ultimately dismissed the juror. "He was telling a joke ... he told the officer ... he made a reference about telling a joke about 'Why did it take seven shots to shoot Jacob Blake,' something to that effect."
The juror, described as a middle-age man, confirmed in court that he made the joke yet refused to repeat what he said verbatim.
"The joke is in bad taste, there are a plethora of bad jokes out there with everything to do with all this, this is one of them,” the judge said. “But I think the rest of this joke, as it were, suggests some sort of racial bias which I think comes into play.”
The juror attempted to assert that the joke had “nothing to do with the case.”
"My feelings is, it was nothing to do with the case,” the man maintained in court. “It was nothing to do with Kyle and his charges."
But both the prosecution and the defense seemed to disagree and dismissed the juror in the high-profile and controversial murder case.
"The public needs to be confident that this is a fair trial," Schroeder stated.
Rittenhouse is accused of opening fire on three people last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two, during civic unrest after police officers shot Blake. Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were killed. Gaige Grosskreutz was injured. Protestors had gathered in support of Blake, a father who was shot seven times in front of his children during a domestic disturbance in Kenosha in August 2020. The shooting left Blake paralyzed from the waist down and sparked several nights of protests. Federal prosecutors announced last month that they won’t file charges against the white police officer who shot Blake.
Rittenhouse’s trial began this week as the jury of 20 people—now 19— listened to contradictory descriptions of what happened on the night of the protest shootings. The trial recently made headlines after the judge ruled that the men Rittenhouse shot cannot be referred to in the courtroom as "victims," calling such a description a "loaded" one. The jury will be whittled down to just 12 jurors before deliberations start.
Rittenhouse was 17 when he joined forces with a militia group at the protests. The gathering of armed individuals told reporters they were on-hand to protect local businesses and help anyone harmed. Rittenhouse was armed with an AR-15-style weapon which he used to shoot the three victims. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and his attorneys say he acted in self defense.
His case has drawn support among conservatives who have embraced the teen as a patriot. His family has even created “Free Kyle” merchandise to raise money for his defense, Kenosha News reported last year.
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