In Kenosha, Wissonsin, where Kyle Rittenhouse is standing trial for murder after he shot and killed two protesters during the riots following the shooting of Jacob Blake, an alternate juror was dismissed for making a joke. The juror, a retired white man, said to a court police officer as the officer escorted him to his car, “Why did the Kenosha police shoot Jacob Blake seven times? Because they ran out of bullets!”
HAR! That’s being called a bad joke in the news media: actually, it’s a classic formula joke in the tradition of “Why does a fireman wear red suspenders?,” “Why did the chicken cross the road”? and “How do you know a politician is lying?” (because his/her lips are moving!). Nonetheless, the officer reported the joke to Judge Bruce Schroeder, who called on the juror to explain to him and the lawyers what the joke was and what he meant by it. The juror confirmed that he made a joke but wouldn’t repeat it. That got him kicked off the jury.
- Isn’t that joke completely ambiguous? Media reports imply that it obviously suggested that the juror was pro-Rittenhouse. That’s not accurate. It could mean that the juror had no sympathy for Blake (neither do I), which I guess means that he would be more likely to identify with Rittenhouse, who shot two individuals who were protesting the police shooting of an armed, accused rapist in the process of kidnapping his victim’s kids. The joke could also mean that the juror sided with the protesters, since it suggests that the police used excessive force only limited by their lack of more ammunition. It could also just be a joke.
- Refusing to answer a direct request from a judge is grounds for dismissal anyway.
- The juror is also evidently an idiot. Who makes a joke like that to court personnel when they are serving on a jury that is considering matters related to the subject of the joke? He should have been dismissed no matter what his intentions were.
- Then there is always the possibility that he was trying to get dismissed.