CNN  — 

A juror was removed Thursday for telling a joke to a deputy earlier this week about the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man whose wounding in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparked the volatile unrest during which Rittenhouse, then 17, killed two men and wounded another.

The incident occurred when a male juror made a joke about the shooting while being escorted to his car, 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.”

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. The juror affirmed he told the joke but declined to repeat it. The juror, a middle-aged man, looked ill-at-ease, fumbling to hold a portable microphone and speaking through a multi-colored face mask, according to a pool reporter in court.

“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.

Both the defense and the prosecution agreed to dismiss the juror, and the judge admonished him while doing so.

“It is clear that the appearance to bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case,” Schroeder said.

The juror’s dismissal leaves the panel with 19 jurors, made up of 11 women and eight men. That number will be narrowed to 12 once deliberations begin, according to the judge. The jury was selected in a single day without the use of a preliminary questionnaire.

The dismissal came amid the first week of testimony in Rittenhouse’s homicide trial in 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, seven times on August 23, 2020. Blake was left paralyzed.

Blake’s uncle said Thursday his family is “disturbed and disgusted” by reports of the dismissed juror’s joke.

“The juror’s mentality shows his bias and callousness and he should be nowhere near the jury box in this case,” Justin Blake told CNN. “It shows the depravity and racism and the lowness of a member of a jury that was selected in one day.”

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. His attorney says he acted in self-defense.

Rittenhouse fired an AR-15-style weapon eight times in all during the unrest: four shots at Joseph 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.

Rosenbaum and Huber, 26, were killed, and Grosskreutz, now 27, was wounded.

Witness says he did not see a weapon in Rosenbaum’s hand

Ryan Balch, a military veteran who was with Rittenhouse on the night of the fatal shootings in Kenosha, said during testimony that he did not see a weapon in Rosenbaum’s hand.

Balch was armed with an AR-15 and a handgun while wearing body armor. He spent much of the evening close to Rittenhouse, describing Rittenhouse as “a young and impressionable kid” who “seemed under-equipped” and “under-experienced.” He also said Rittenhouse told him that he was a 19-year-old certified EMT.

Balch described Rosenbaum as “hyper-aggressive and acting out in a violent manner” when questioned by Binger. He also said he did not see Rosenbaum cause any physical injury to anyone on the night of the shootings.

Balch also described an encounter he had with Rosenbaum, saying Rosenbaum “threatened him and the defendant (Rittenhouse).”

“I turned and had an exchange with one of the protestors, and I kind of explained to that protester, ‘Hey, you know, I get it, get what you are trying to do but like not this,’ and when I turned around, Rosenbaum was right there in front of my face, yelling and screaming.

“And I said, ‘Dude, back up, chill. I don’t know what your problem is?’ He goes, ‘You know, If I catch any of you guys alone tonight, I’m gonna f***ing kill you,’” Balch said, adding that Rittenhouse was close enough to hear what was said.

Balch said Rosenbaum neither reached for any weapons nor did he touch him.

“He had a bag full of what looked to be chemicals to me,” Balch said. “I made the assumption at the time and told the FBI the same thing that I thought it was for making Molotov cocktails.”

The bag Balch saw with Rosenbaum was the same bag laying on the ground after Rittenhouse shot Rosenbaum, Balch testified.