A fired N.C. state Highway Patrol trooper who served as a K-9 handler has sued the agency asking for his job back.

Sgt. Charles L. Jones was fired three months ago after a video that showed him kicking his K-9 "Ricoh" during a training session came to the attention of Internal Affairs. Ricoh, a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois, was not injured.

Jones' suit contends that the agency fired him for conducting rough training with the dog because it feared a public backlash in light of the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal.

In the video, which was shot by a fellow trooper on a cell phone, the dog is almost suspended in the air and Jones is shown kicking him four times to gain compliance. Jones says the treatment was no rougher than a Highway Patrol accepted police dog training technique called "helicoptering," in which a dog is swung around in the air on a leash.

A spokesman for the Highway Patrol declined to comment on the case when contacted by a reporter from the Raleigh News & Observer. Jones' complaint was filed with the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

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