Gahanna safety director Robert Keyes has fired Gahanna police officer Christopher Thomas.

Gahanna safety director Robert Keyes has fired Gahanna police officer Christopher Thomas.

Thomas was cited June 28 for riding his motorcycle at 149 miles per hour on Interstate 70 in Licking County. Thomas had pleaded guilty to that charge in Licking County Municipal Court.

Keyes, in his letter to Thomas, wrote, "Taking into account the severity of your misconduct, the fact that it was intentional and completely unjustified, the fact that you placed not only yourself, but others in danger and the harm to reputation caused by your conduct, I am terminating your employment effective immediately."

Gahanna officials released the letter Aug. 24, after they were assured that Thomas had received it.

The letter states that police Chief Dennis Murphy had recommended Thomas' termination at the end of an Aug. 4 hearing before Keyes. In his summation of the facts, Keyes said that an Ohio State Highway Patrol captain initially had told Gahanna deputy Chief Ken Bell that the patrol did not intend to cite Thomas.

"The deputy chief indicated to the captain his strong preference that you also be cited for your speeding offense," Keyes wrote to Thomas.

Thomas and Trooper Jason E. Highsmith were stopped for traveling 147 mph on their motorcycles while not on duty. The patrol trooper who stopped them did not initially cite either man.

After Bell indicated he wanted Thomas cited, Thomas was issued a speeding citation July 6.

"Subsequent to your speeding offense, the fact of your offence and the fact that you and Trooper Highsmith were not issued citations immediately became the subject of extensive media coverage, including the national media," Keyes wrote.

"In turn, there have been numerous contacts made to the Gahanna Police Department and to other Gahanna city government officials, expressing outrage at what was perceived by many as unfair special treatment of fellow police officers by the OHSP."

He continued: "Operating a motorcycle at 149 mph on an Interstate highway on a Sunday afternoon shows complete disregard for the law and for public safety. Any effort to characterize the conduct as 'only speeding' ignores the facts and the severity of the situation.

"In addition, your conduct has brought substantial harm to the reputation of the Gahanna Police Department, the city of Gahanna and your own reputation and effectiveness as a police officer."

The Fraternal Order of Police represented Thomas during the hearing. An official there said the FOP was considering appealing the firing either through arbitration or a lawsuit.