ARLINGTON, Va. - D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser told FOX 5 on Friday that she has "some concerns" about the interaction between D.C.'s deputy mayor of public safety and justice and an Arlington Gold's Gym trainer.
Earlier this week, Chris Geldart was charged with assault and battery and now questions are being raised about why the prominent city official lives in Virginia and not D.C. as his role requires.
According to the mayor's office, Geldart is still on leave and all matters pertaining to him are under review.
An exclusive FOX 5 video shows the moment Geldart grabs Dustin Woodward – a trainer at the Gold's Gym on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington, Virginia – by the neck.
Woodward says the scuffle stemmed from the moment Geldart’s vehicle door hit his girlfriend’s car. The two argued in a confrontational and aggressive style before the situation turned violent.
In a statement, Arlington County Police said the incident occurred just before 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Woodward reported the incident on Monday, then filed a criminal complaint Tuesday with the county magistrate’s office, which issued a warrant for Geldart for assault and battery.
Geldart was notified of the warrant by phone, turned himself in, and he was released on a summons.
Woodward only wanted to speak with FOX 5's Sierra Fox after he reported the incident.
"It’s a little frustrating, right? Because he’s way too big to be trying to be a bully, especially with his position," Woodward said.
On Tuesday, when FOX 5 first showed D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser the video to ask if she thinks this is acceptable behavior from someone on her leadership team, she said that she hadn't seen it and declined to comment on it.
On Friday her sentiment toward the situation changed.
"I have some concerns about the interaction," Bowser said. "Certainly D.C. residents expect that all of our officials report themselves in a way that makes us proud and it is my responsibility now to make sure I have all of the information that I need while I am reviewing the matter."
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox asked Mayor Bowser if she believes residency definitions need to be strengthened because according to several D.C. government leaders, they feel it is not in the spirit of the law to just be renting in D.C.
"We don’t have a requirement that people own a home. They can rent a home. People in D.C. rent homes," Bowser responded.
Her answer caused other reporters to step in and demand a direct response to the real question at hand.
FOX 5 followed up by asking the mayor if she is okay with her deputy mayor not residing in the District full time.
Mayor Bowser continued to dismiss the topic.
According to D.C. Code, in executive positions like D.C.’s deputy mayor, you must live in D.C. within 180 days of your appointment. If not, you will be removed from your position.
However, there is a section in the law that says when an employee suffers from an extraordinary hardship due to exceptional circumstances beyond their control, the mayor can review the request and give them a waiver.
Mayor Bowser says she has not reviewed or given any hardship waiver.
Geldart allegedly has an apartment in Southeast D.C. while actually living in a Falls Church, Virginia home with family.
FOX 5 has tried to contact Geldart by calling and knocking on his door, but we have yet to receive a response.