KENOSHA, Wis. (NewsNation Now) — A juror in Kyle Rittenhouse’s murder trial was dismissed Thursday after a court security officer reported that the man told a joke about the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which set off protests in the Wisconsin city where Rittenhouse is accused of shooting three people.
Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder said the security officer reported the remarks earlier this week. Prosecutor Thomas Binger said the remarks as shared showed racial bias. Blake, who is Black, was shot by a white Kenosha police officer and left partially paralyzed.
When Schroeder called the juror into the courtroom to discuss what he said, the juror said he didn’t want to repeat his comments. But Schroeder said it was “clear that the appearance of bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case” and that the juror would be dismissed.
The juror then responded: “It wasn’t anything to do with the case. It wasn’t anything to do with Kyle.”
Defense attorneys Thursday are also expected to cross-examine a police detective who testified about social media video clips of one shooting and the moments that led up to it.
Video took center stage Wednesday in the Illinois man’s trial in the shootings of three men — two fatally — after Rittenhouse traveled to Kenosha in August 2020 with a medical kit and a rifle in what he says was an effort to safeguard property from damaging riots.
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 far 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.
Richards also described how Rosenbaum had come out from behind a car to meet Rittenhouse before the shooting, saying to the detective: “Correct me if I’m wrong, but this looks like the classic ambush.”
After prosecutors objected, Richards said: “Mr. Rosenbaum is in hiding as my client arrives, correct?”
“It appears so, yes,” Howard responded.
Moments after shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse shot and killed Anthony Huber, 26, a protester from Silver Lake, Wisconsin, who was seen on bystander video hitting Rittenhouse with a skateboard.
Rittenhouse then wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27, a protester from West Allis, Wisconsin, who had a gun in his hand as he stepped toward Rittenhouse.
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.
The young man traveled to Kenosha from his home in Illinois after violent protests broke out over the shooting of Blake, by a white Kenosha police officer. Rittenhouse said he went there to protect property after two nights in which rioters set fires and ransacked businesses.
Prosecutors have portrayed him 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.
The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WGN contributed to this report.