Hatgate Update: Appellate judges side with fired Highway Patrol trooper | News

Hatgate Update: Appellate judges side with fired Highway Patrol trooper

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Earlier this week the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion siding with a fired Highway Patrol trooper who, after losing his hat, gave a misleading story to his superiors about how he lost it.

We covered the hat flap in our Oct. 23 issue, following oral arguments at the Court of Appeals.

During a traffic stop on a gusty evening in 2009, Trooper Thomas Wetherington lost his department-issued hat. Although he couldn't remember how he lost it, he later told his superiors that a gust of wind had lifted it off his head, and that an 18-wheeler rolling down the highway had crushed it. The hat was discovered nearly a month later fully intact, and Wetherington was fired for violating the Highway Patrol's truthfulness policy.

The judges' unanimous opinion, filed Dec. 17, claimed that Wetherington's punishment (termination) did not fit his offense (fibbing). 

The attorney general's office will decide whether or not to appeal the case to the State Supreme Court. Wetherington reportedly wants to rejoin the Highway Patrol.


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