A Washington, D.C. deputy mayor has been charged with assault and battery after he was caught on camera grabbing a man by the throat in the parking lot of a Gold’s Gym in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday.
Video of the incident shows Chris Geldart, the DC Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, aggressively approaching Gold’s Gym trainer Dustin Woodward, FOX 5 reported. After a moment, Geldart is seen grabbing Woodward by the throat.
Arlington Police said the altercation began when Geldart allegedly opened his car door and hit the parked car next to him, which belonged to Woodward’s girlfriend. Woodward said Geldart started cursing and screaming at him, so Woodward told Geldart to “shut up.”
Moments later, Geldart gets chest-to-chest with Woodward and briefly grabs Woodward’s throat before Woodward pushes Geldart’s hand away.
“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 told FOX 5. “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 reporter Sierra Fox attempted to show D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser the security video and asked if she considers Geldart’s conduct acceptable, but Bowser refused to watch the footage or respond.
Bowser’s office later released a statement, saying, “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 also tried contacting Geldart, but he has repeatedly refused to comment on the situation.
“After several unsuccessful attempts to reach out to DC’s Deputy Mayor Chris Geldart by phone, we did a door knock at his Falls Church, Virginia home to give him the opportunity to share his side. He saw @fox5dc, but avoided us. Geldart eventually drove away ignoring questions,” Fox tweeted.