/  11.18.2021

Bruce Schroeder, the judge presiding over Kyle Rittenhouse’s homicide trial, is facing backlash — once again.

On Wednesday (Nov. 17), Schroeder referred to one of his former jurors as “a Black” while he was explaining why he let Rittenhouse choose the names of the jurors who would be excluded from the final panel of 12. While rambling, the judge stated that the last time he let a clerk choose the juror names was almost two decades ago in a trial with a Black defendant.

He said there was “a bad optic” after the clerk chose “a Black, the Black, the only Black” in the jury pool.

“There were 13 jurors, one of whom was Black,” he said. “And when the clerk, the government official, drew the name out of the tumbler, it was a Black, the Black, the only Black. There was nothing wrong with it, it was all OK, but what do they talk about — optics, nowadays … That was a bad optic, I thought.”

Schroeder added, “I think people feel better when they have control, so ever since that case, I’ve had an almost universal policy of having the defendant do the picks.”

The judge’s remark wasn’t the only time he has been criticized during this trial. As REVOLT previously reported, he made a joke about Asian cuisine. “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming… isn’t on one of those boats in Long Beach Harbor,” he said, seemingly referring to the supply chain issues that have kept boats off the California coast for days.

“Maybe I’m supposed to applaud him for not saying ‘Oriental food,’” John C. Yang, the executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, tweeted. “Seriously, this remark can only be seen as a joke at the expense of Asians/Asian Americans. During a trial that clearly has race implications, no less. Definitely not okay.”


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