Documents filed in Natrona County Circuit Court allege that a former Casper police officer gouged out another man's eye during a street fight last fall.

Jesse Jones is charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year behind bars. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial appearance on Tuesday.

At the time of the October 1 incident, Jones was an officer with the Casper Police Department. He resigned from the department as Casper Police Chief Keith McPheeters initiated the termination process, the department said.

As Jones was a Casper police officer at the time of the incident, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation looked into the events.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, Jones was outside of the Seton House with a sign protesting the organization's vaccine requirement.

Three witnesses told investigators that the man whose eye was gouged out was the aggressor. An additional witness told police that the man ripped Jones's sign from him.

The affidavit states Jones told investigators the man threw a punch at him, so Jones "jabbed" back. Jones reportedly said he told the man to back up, but he kept advancing toward him, so Jones pulled out a firearm.

Court documents state Jones told investigators he lowered his firearm and continued backing away before the man charged at him.

At some point, court documents state, Jones told investigators he and the man ended up on the ground. Jones said the man kept advancing on him so Jones "fish hooked" him and ended up on top of him.

Jones told investigators that as the man rolled Jones off of him, Jones took his finger and hooked it into the man's eye socket and "yanked" his eye out of the socket before he "broke off" the fight.

Witnesses told investigators that Jones and the man were punching each other when the fight ended up on the ground. One witness told police that Jones continued to fight after separating and that Jones wrestled the man to the ground.

Court documents state one witness reported that after the man quit fighting, Jones continued punching the man's face into the concrete. Additionally, the witness said he believed Jones already won the fight when the eye-gouging occurred.

For his part, Jones told investigators that he was in fear of being overpowered.

A Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Agent concludes in the affidavit that even though Jones didn't instigate the fight, Jones engaged in the act of ripping at the man's eye after the threat ceased to exist.

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