The judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial is facing backlash for making an inappropriate joke about Asian food, but he had already shown bias and questionable behavior.
“I hope the Asian food isn’t coming… isn’t one of those boats in Long Beach harbor,” Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder said ahead of a lunch break.
The joke, which appeared to reference the back log of cargo ships containing consumers gridlocked in Southern California ports, has been slammed by Asian American leaders.
“Seriously, this remark can be seen as a joke at the expense of Asians/Asian Americans. During a trial that clearly has race implications, no less,” said John Yang, the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice.
In the high profile case, Rittenhouse, 18, stands accused of gunning down two men and wounding a third during a night of protests against police brutality and racial injustice in the summer of 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The protests in Kenosha were set off by the wounding of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white police officer. Rittenhouse, then 17, went to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Illinois, allegedly to protect property after rioters who set fires and ransacked businesses on previous nights.
Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, in an initial confrontation and just moments later fatally shot Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, 27. Rittenhouse is white, as were those he shot.
Judge Schroeder has showed his bias towards Rittenhouse by disallowing the people shot by Rittenhouse from being called victims, but allowing other words like “rioter,” “looters” or “arsonists” to be used.
The judge has intervened repeatedly to block questions from the prosecution that would have undermined the self-defense claim presented by Rittenhouse and his defense team.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday in a case in which there is considerable evidence that Rittenhouse acted as a vigilante who took the law into his own hands.
Rittenhouse traveled 15 miles from his hometown of Antioch, Illinois, to Kenosha armed with a loaded AR-15-style assault rifle to join a group of armed vigilantes who brandished their weapons at the protesters.
Although the judge has not allowed the jury to hear any evidence of Rittenhouse’s ideology, or actions before and after the shooting, it is important to the case.
According to the prosecution, two weeks before the shooting Rittenhouse allegedly openly declared that he wished to shoot people he saw coming out of a CVS store, who he believed were shoplifting. “Bro, I wish I had my f—ing AR. I’d start shooting rounds at them.”
After posting bail following the killings in Kenosha, Rittenhouse allegedly attended a celebration at a bar where he was caught flashing “white power” signs at a meeting with top Proud Boys leaders, according to the prosecution.
The prosecution should have been allowed to present these serious allegations to the jury.
Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune