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A juror’s cruel joke got himself kicked off of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial

A judge dismissed a juror for telling a joke about the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

A juror in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was dismissed Thursday for making a joke to a court security officer about the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August 2020. 

The judge overseeing the case, Bruce Schroeder, said it was “clear that the appearance of bias is present, and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case” if the juror remained part of the trial.

“At the very most, it was bad judgment to tell a joke of that nature,” Schroeder told the juror in the courtroom Thursday. 

The joke had been a reference to the number of bullets used to shoot Blake, according to reporters who were present during the exchange between Schroeder and the juror.

The state said the joke was roughly, “Why did the Kenosha police shoot Jacob Blake 7-times? Because they ran out of bullets,” according to one reporter's tweet.

Both the prosecution and defense agreed to dismiss the juror.

Kyle Rittenhouse at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Wisconsin on Nov. 2, 2021.Sean Krajacic / The Kenosha News via AP

Outrage over Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked protests last year, including a demonstration at which Rittenhouse fatally shot two people and wounded another. Rittenhouse, who has said he was acting in self-defense, has pleaded not guilty reckless homicide, intentional homicide and attempted intentional homicide

Rittenhouse’s trial has been marred by controversy from the outset.

As Schroeder was laying out the ground rules last week, he told the prosecution and the defense that the people shot by Rittenhouse couldn’t be referred to as “victims” during the trial because the term is “loaded” with prejudice. But, he said, they can be called “rioters,” “looters” and “arsonists.”

On Wednesday, he took time to rant about media criticism he’s received over the trial. As if that weren’t enough to instill doubt about the impartiality of the trial, NBC News reported earlier this week that 19 of the 20 jurors selected to participate are white.

Rittenhouse’s trial has already become a circus, and until today, it even featured joke-telling clowns.

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