A juror was dismissed from Kyle Rittenhouse’s homicide trial Thursday for telling a joke about the police shooting of Jacob Blake to a bailiff outside the Minnesota courthouse.
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder brought Juror No. 7 into the courtroom to question him about his conduct before ultimately agreeing with prosecutors’ request to dismiss him ahead of Thursday’s proceedings.
“I’ve talked quite a bit about public confidence in the outcome of the trial,” Schroeder told the court.
“It’s clear that the appearance of bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case,” he added.
The juror had allegedly said, “Why did the Kenosha police shoot Jacob Blake 7 times? Because they ran out of bullets,” CBS Chicago reported.
He confirmed to the judge that he told a joke about the police shooting while he was being escorted to his car — but he declined to share what the remark was.
However, the juror insisted that it had “nothing to do with Kyle and his seven charges.”
“I think even at the very most, it was a bad judgment,” Schroeder responded.
A white police officer shot Blake, who is black, seven times in the back during a domestic disturbance on Aug. 23, 2020, in Kenosha.
The shooting, which left Blake paralyzed from the waist down, ignited tumultuous protests in the city that saw businesses burned and vandalism.
Rittenhouse, who was then 17, traveled from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, to the demonstrations and shot three men, killing two of them.
His trial kicked off this week on charges that include intentional homicide and attempted homicide.
The juror’s removal Wednesday leaves a 19-person jury panel that includes seven alternates.
Prosecutors have argued that Rittenhouse instigated the violence in Kenosha, while his lawyers claim he acted in self-defense.
If convicted of the top charge, Rittenhouse faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.