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GRAPHIC IMAGES: Hazlehurst police officer resigns over assault charges on veteran

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HAZLEHURST, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A police officer in Hazlehurst has resigned after being convicted of simple assault charges on a citizen.

The incident happened when the officer was off duty and out of his jurisdiction.

The man on the receiving end of the attack, a war veteran and senior citizen, is now recovering from multiple injuries.

It was November 30, 2017 when Ed Ayers says he had a small fender bender with an unoccupied car at City Drugs in Crystal Springs.

A man claiming he was a police officer approached him and told him to stop. Ayers said no damage was done, so he and his friend pulled off. 

Minutes later, he says he was attacked on Mill Street.

"Jumped up with the gun in my face, hit me in the jaw, snatched me out my truck, and the truck took off almost by itself," said Ayers.

Ayers say his attacker, then officer Joel Sims of the Hazlehurst Police Department, off duty and out of his jurisdiction and uniform, demanded he return to the accident scene.

Ayers was bloodied in his face and arms. He lost two teeth in the attack where he says he didn't fight back or resist.

Last week, Ayers say Sims was convicted of simple assault and fined just $500. 

This week, Sims resigned from the Hazlehurst Police Department.

READ MORE: Three Hazlehurst police officers resign

Ayers, who was never charged with anything, is confused as to why he was targeted.

Ayers says he's visited with the FBI about the incident, and is considering filing civil charges.

A war veteran who survived tours in Vietnam, Desert Storm and later beating prostate cancer and kidney failure is surviving his toughest battle on home soil.

"He needs to be fined and probably go to jail or somewhere," said Ayers. 

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