KENOSHA, Wis. — The judge presiding over the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, Bruce Schroeder, created controversy Thursday afternoon after making a joke about Asian food as the court went into lunch break.
As Judge Schroeder decided to break for lunch, he said, "I hope the Asian food isn't coming, isn't on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor."
The comment appears to have been in reference to supply chain issues at ports in California. Long Beach Harbor is a container port near Los Angeles.
John Yang, the president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, told CNN that the judge's comments "harms our community and puts us in the crosshairs of micro aggressions as well as actual physical violence."
This comes almost two weeks after Schroeder dismissed a juror for making a joke about Jacob Blake, whose shooting by a Kenosha police officer sparked the Kenosha protests and unrest. After learning about what the juror said, Schroeder told the court last week, "I'm going to summarize what I remember, what I was told. 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."
"It is clear that the appearance to bias is present, and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case," Schroeder said as he made his decision to dismiss the juror. Both the prosecution and the defense agreed with the dismal.
Judge Schroeder is currently the longest-serving trial court judge in Wisconsin. The judge also emerged in national headlines before the trial began when he ruled that prosecutors could not refer to people as victims before jurors in his Kenosha County courtroom. That is in reference to the two people Rittenhouse shot and killed and the third person he injured.