A Euclid police officer who allegedly pulled out his gun during an off-duty bar fight back in August has been fired, with the mayor saying she "no longer [has] confidence that you can perform successfully as a member of the Euclid Police Department."
On Aug. 24, 32-year-old Officer Todd Gauntner and two members of the "Hells Angels" organization were involved in an altercation on the patio of Frank and Tony's Place on Second Street in Willoughby. Gauntner was apparently one of the aggressors, and investigators say he brandished his weapon and pointed it at the two men before a physical fight occurred that had to be broken up by bar patrons.
Gauntner was arrested and charged with using a weapon while intoxicated, and his case remains open in Willoughby Municipal Court. He was also suspended from his job for 15 days with pay while the department's internal affairs division investigated the incident.
According to a letter sent to Gauntner by Mayor Kristen Holzheimer Gail, Police Chief Scott Meyer recommended to her back on Sept. 11 that Gauntner be terminated from the force. A hearing was held two days later to consider all explanations regarding the altercation, but in the end it was agreed that Gauntner should be let go.
Mayor Gail, in the letter, chastised Gauntner for inviting trouble by making "disparaging comments" to the bikers and for not removing himself from the situation, adding he nearly lost his gun in the disturbance and "put yourself and many bar patrols at a significant risk of substantial harm due to your reckless behavior.
"Your actions have brought discredit to you as a member of the Euclid Police Department," she wrote.
Gauntner's termination took effect Sept. 17.