- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina Supreme Court says the Highway Patrol doesn’t have to automatically fire a trooper who lies and wants a new look at the case of an officer who fibbed about what happened to his hat.

The high court ruled Friday that the state patrol’s commander was wrong when he believed a truthfulness policy gave him no choice but to fire Thomas Wetherington in 2009.

Wetherington told his supervisor his flat-brimmed uniform hat blew off of his head during a traffic stop and was probably crushed. The hat was returned in good condition a few weeks later. The then-22-year-old trooper finally admitted he lied to avoid punishment after a previous reprimand.

The court said the patrol should now decide whether to dismiss Wetherington based on the facts and circumstances.

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