WASHOUGAL, Wash. -

A Washougal police officer who was fired in 2012 for hitting a mentally ill man then reinstated has resigned.

Police Chief Ron Mitchell says Robert E. Ritchie left of his own free will this month and was not asked to resign.

The Columbian reports the 54-year-old had returned to work a couple of months ago after an arbiter ruled termination was too harsh for the officer with more than 30 years of service.

Ritchie repeatedly punched a mentally ill man who spat on him.