James E. “Skip” Crooks

[Nation] This story was first published in WyoFile

(RIVERTON, Wyo.) The Fremont County Attorney’s office has offered a plea agreement to a white man with a prison record who severely injured a Black Northern Arapaho tribe member outside a sports bar four months ago.

Instead of the felony charges of aggravated assault and battery, which he faces now, James E. “Skip” Crooks would plead guilty to misdemeanor simple assault, serve 14 days in jail, and be put on probation for one year, said H. Michael Bennett, the Fremont County Attorney.

According to witnesses and police testimony, only one punch was thrown in the altercation. A witness testified in an earlier court hearing that when Crooks hit Darryn Davis in the face, Davis was lifted off his feet and propelled backwards in the air before he landed on the back of his head.

Riverton doctors ordered Davis airlifted to Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, where a trauma team put him into an induced coma to treat swelling in his brain and performed reconstructive surgery on his face.

Davis, 24 at the time of the attack, is the child of a Northern Arapaho mother and an African American father. Crooks, also 24, is white. Davis claims, and Crooks denies, that Crooks used a racial slur before he struck Davis.

Bennett declined to comment further on the steep reduction in both the charges against Crooks and the potential penalties he faces.

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