One of the 20 jurors empaneled to hear the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial has been removed from the jury for telling a tacky joke to a bailiff.
The issue surrounding the dismissal of the juror came up at the end of Wednesday’s testimony, but it was made official on Thursday.
According to Deputy DA Thomas Binger, the juror was dismissed for a joke about Jacob Blake, the man whose shooting by police sparked the Kenosha riots.
NPR reported, “It was my understanding it was something along the lines of, ‘Why did the Kenosha police shoot Jacob Blake seven times?’ said prosecutor Thomas Binger. It’s my understanding that the rest of the joke is: ‘Because they ran out of bullets.'”
The joke was uttered by a man being escorted to his vehicle after the day’s testimony.
When the juror was asked about it and refused to repeat it, he was let go, according to an account from NPR.
Rittenhouse’s defense lawyers initially opposed the dismissal, but they ultimately declined to object after the juror refused to repeat the joke, saying that his unwillingness to do so “could be taken in a worse light.”
“Regardless whether the issue is as grave as [Binger] presented it in terms of inner feelings, it’s clear that the appearance of bias is present, and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case,” said Schroeder as he dismissed the juror. “The public needs to be confident that this is a fair trial.”
Judge Bruce Schroeder empaneled 20 people for the case, 12 jurors and eight alternates. That has obviously dropped to seven alternates after the dismissal of the juror.
The trial resumes on Friday.