Crime Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Juror dismissed for telling joke about police shooting of Jacob Blake
Legal experts see strong self-defense claim for Rittenhouse
When Kyle Rittenhouse goes on trial Monday for shooting three men during street protests in Wisconsin that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake last summer, he'll argue that he fired in self-defense. Legal experts say under Wisconsin law he has a strong case. What's less clear is whether prosecutors will be able to persuade the jury that Rittenhouse created a deadly situation by showing up in Kenosha with an AR-style semiautomatic rifle — and that in doing so he forfeited his claim to self-defense. © Provided by Associated Press Circuit Court Judge Bruce E.
A juror was dismissed inThursday morning after he told a joke to a deputy earlier this week about the .
The incident occurred when a male juror being escorted to his car made a joke about the shooting, Judge Bruce Schroeder said.
"I'm going to summarize what I remember, what I was told," Schroeder said. "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."
In Rittenhouse case, Americans see what they want to see
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — From the moment Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people on the streets of Kenosha during protests over the police shooting of a Black man, he’s personified America’s polarization. The 17-year-old from Illinois who carried an AR-style rifle and idolized police was cheered by those who despised the Black Lives Matter movement and the sometimes destructive protests that followed George Floyd’s death. He was championed by pro-gun conservatives who said he was exercising his Second Amendment rights and defending cities from “antifa,” an umbrella term for leftist militants.
Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger took particular issue with the incident.
"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. But I think the rest of this joke, as it were, suggests some sort of racial bias which I think comes into play," he said.
The judge called the juror into court for questioning, and the juror affirmed he told the joke but declined to repeat it.
The middle-aged juror appeared ill-at-ease, fumbling to hold a portable microphone and speaking through a multi-colored face mask while speaking to the judge, according to a pool reporter in court.
"It had nothing to do with the case," he told the judge.
"It is clear that the appearance to bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case," Schroeder said.
Judge hopes to seat Kyle Rittenhouse jury within a day
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — The trial of Kyle Rittenhouse opened Monday with the challenging task of seating jurors who haven't already made up their minds about the young aspiring police officer who shot two people to death and wounded a third during a night of anti-racism protests in Kenosha last year. Rittenhouse was 17 when he made the short trip from his home in Illinois, just across the Wisconsin state line, during unrest that broke out in August 2020 after a white Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man.Rittenhouse, now 18, faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree homicide, one of several charges against him.
"My feelings is, it was nothing to do with the case. It was nothing to do with Kyle and his charges," the juror told the judge.
"The public needs to be confident that this is a fair trial," Schroeder responded.
Both the defense and the prosecution agreed to dismiss the juror.
The juror's dismissal leaves the panel with 19 total jurors, 11 women and now eight men. That number will be narrowed to 12 once deliberations begin, according to the judge.
The dismissal came amid the first week of testimony inin Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, killed two men and wounded another during the volatile unrest after police shot Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, . He was left paralyzed.
Rittenhouse, now 18, has pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree attempted intentional homicide.
Witness: Rittenhouse said people 'were trying to hurt him'
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Kyle Rittenhouse was “freaking out” and “really scared” moments after shooting three men during street protests against racial injustice, and said he had to do it because “people were trying to hurt him," a friend testified at Rittenhouse's murder trial. Dominick Black, who faces his own trial for buying the 17-year-old Rittenhouse an AR-15-style rifle he wasn't old enough to legally possess, said Tuesday he was stunned when Rittenhouse called him seconds after the first shooting.
In opening statements, the prosecution said evidence would show Rittenhouse chased down and fatally shot Rosenbaum, 36, and then shot at three other people who tried to confront what they believed to be an active shooter. However, Richards said Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, describing Rosenbaum as the aggressor and the others as part of a "mob."
The violence in Kenosha, a city of about 100,000 people, came amid a tense summer of protests and unrest as masses of people denounced. On August 23, 2020, a Kenosha police officer shot Blake, and the ensuing public anger led to incidents of violence and destruction, pushing some people to arm themselves and take the community's safety into their own hands.
Rittenhouse fired an AR-15-style weapon eight times in all during the unrest: four shots at Rosenbaum, who was unarmed; two shots at an unarmed unknown individual who kicked Rittenhouse; one fatal shot at Anthony Huber, who hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard; and one shot at Gaige Grosskreutz, who was holding a gun, according to prosecutors.
Judge in Kyle Rittenhouse trial boots juror for 'joke' about police shooting of Jacob Blake
When the judge brought the juror to the courtroom, the man would not repeat the joke but said he didn’t think it had “anything to do with” the trial.A Kenosha police officer shot Blake seven times in August 2020, which left him paralyzed. The shooting was captured on video that sparked protests and led to the deaths of the two men, whom Rittenhouse is charged with killing. Rittenhouse also wounded a third person during those protests last year.
, was wounded.
Videos show final moments
On Wednesday and Thursday, prosecutors played about a dozen videos that, taken together, showed what happened before, during and after Rittenhouse killed two men and wounded another in Kenosha.
In particular, new FBI infrared aerial surveillance video provided a unique angle into the final moments before the teenager fatally shot Rosenbaum. The infrared video, grainy and shot from 8,500 feet overheard, shows Rittenhouse hustling along a sidewalk and passing Rosenbaum, who is positioned next to a cluster of parked cars.
The video shows the two stop and interact, and Rosenbaum, who was unarmed, then begins to run toward Rittenhouse, who is armed with a rifle. Rittenhouse, then 17, runs away from Rosenbaum before the teenager ultimately turns and shoots him four times, the video shows.
The new FBI aerial video was shown in court during testimony from Kenosha Police Det. Martin Howard, the lead investigator on the case.
Richards, Rittenhouse's attorney, alleged that Rosenbaum was in the parking lot setting a Duramax vehicle on fire. Richards argued that Rosenbaum "was in hiding" as Rittenhouse arrived at the parking lot, which Howard confirmed.
Videos taken of the scene from other witnesses show Rosenbaum threw a plastic bag at Rittenhouse during the chase, but Rosenbaum was otherwise unarmed. The videos also show that a different person fired a gunshot in the air about 2.5 seconds before Rittenhouse opened fire.
EXPLAINER: Prosecutors play up Rittenhouse inexperience
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Prosecutors trying to convict Kyle Rittenhouse of murder have been working to paint him as an inexperienced teenager who misrepresented his age and medical training to other armed civilians in his group on the night he shot three men during a protest against police brutality in Wisconsin last year. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger has drawn out testimony during the first week of Rittenhouse's trial from severalAssistant District Attorney Thomas Binger has drawn out testimony during the first week of Rittenhouse's trial from several witnesses, including two military veterans, saying the Illinois teen appeared inexperienced, that he falsely claimed that he was old enough to possess a gun and tha
That initial shot was fired by Joshua Ziminski, Howard testified. Afterward, Rittenhouse fired four times at Rosenbaum. There were another three shots afterward, the videos show, but Howard said investigators still do not know who fired those.
Ziminski, 36, has separately been charged with disorderly conduct using a dangerous weapon, arson and obstructing an officer, and he has pleaded not guilty, court records show. A criminal complaint says he admitted to firing a "warning shot" in the air that night.
Other videos that night from a variety of perspectives show what happened next. Rittenhouse ran from the shooting scene and people began to chase after him, yelling that he had shot someone. Rittenhouse then fell to the ground, and three people confronted him; Rittenhouse fatally shot Huber and shot Grosskreutz in the arm, the videos show.
Judge Tells Rittenhouse He's 'Raising' Conviction Risk as Jury Also Weighs Lesser Charges .
The jury in the trial is now able to consider lesser charges that Judge Bruce Schroeder will decide on by Saturday.Rittenhouse is charged with several counts, including homicide and attempted homicide, after the then-17-year-old fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020.