Officer Thomas Wetherington, 22, says he was treated unfairly when the North Carolina Highway Patrol dismissed him in August over a lost hat, the News Observer reports.

An agency spokesman has said a trooper wouldn't be fired only for losing his hat, which is known as a "campaign cover."

Wetherington lost the hat during an evening traffic stop in March, when he placed it on his patrol car, while he retrieved open containers of alcohol and two loaded pistols from a vehicle towing a large boat on Interstate 70.

The trooper later filed a report saying the hat had been run over by a truck. Coincidentally, the hat was retrieved by another driver who returned it to the agency.

Wetherington was then charged with a violation of the agency's code of conduct. He was later fired.

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