Chris Geldart, the D.C. deputy mayor for public safety and justice has been charged with assault and battery after a parking lot altercation that happened around 12:25 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Arlington.
Dustin Woodward, a trainer at the Gold’s Gym, says D.C.'s Deputy Mayor Chris Geldart grabbed him by the neck in the gym's parking lot.
Woodward got permission to use surveillance video and is exclusively sharing it with FOX 5.
In the video, D.C.'s deputy mayor is on the right (in tank top & shorts), Woodward on the left (in long-sleeve and workout pants) - and according to Arlington Police, an argument stemmed from Geldart allegedly opening up his car door and hitting the parked car of Woodward's girlfriend. The dispute escalated to the point where Woodward says Geldart was cursing and screaming, which caused him to turn around and tell Geldart to "shut up."
This is when Geldart got in Woodward's face in a confrontational style. Later in the video, the two men are chest-to-chest and Woodward says Geldart put his hands on his throat before he was able to push him away.
Woodward told FOX 5's Sierra Fox that it could have ended a lot worse.
"It’s a little frustrating, right? Because he’s way too big to be trying to be a bully, especially with his position. Something should be done. It’s not okay," Woodward said. "We’ve been dealing with him for a while at Gold’s. Multiple locations actually, that’s how we even figured out who he was. So, something needs to be done because you can’t just abuse your power like that. That’s pretty frustrating on my end."
FOX 5's Sierra FOX asked D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser if she thinks it's acceptable behavior from someone on her leadership team, but she didn't want to look at the video or respond.
After refusing to answer questions, her office eventually released this statement:
"We take any accusations seriously and are reviewing the matter. While it is under review, Deputy Mayor Geldart is on leave. Unfortunately, it sounds like something that happens to a lot of people — a dispute over something minor — and we hope it is resolved quickly."
FOX 5 also followed up with the mayor's office to see if we could interview Geldart to get his side, and we have not heard back from him.
After several unsuccessful attempts to reach him by phone, we did a door knock at his Falls Church, Virginia home – where he ignored our crew.