WASHINGTON - D.C.’s deputy mayor of public safety and justice is being criminally charged after being accused of grabbing a man by the neck in an Arlington, Virginia Gold’s Gym parking lot.
FOX 5 premiered an exclusive video of the alleged incident Wednesday. And now concerns are being raised about why the prominent D.C. official lives outside the District.
D.C.’s Deputy Mayor Chris Geldart allegedly has an apartment in Southeast, but he is living in his Falls Church, Virginia home.
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox saw him there Wednesday night with his family as she tried to give him the opportunity to speak on the assault and battery charge he is facing.
It was hard to find anyone in D.C. who did not think it is concerning that he may be spending more time and money across the river.
"That’s really troubling. There has to be a full investigation and account," said Nickolas Theros.
"I mean, if you’re not living in the District of Columbia how can you be representing us because you don’t live here? You know what I’m saying? You have to be here and see how things operate in D.C. to be able to protect us," said Antoine Washington. "You can’t protect us from all the way out in Falls Church. What if we need you? We gotta wait 'til you get here?"
According to D.C. Code, in executive positions like D.C.’s deputy mayor, you must live in the nation’s capital 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.
The only proof of residency you need as a D.C. official is having a District of Columbia driver’s license and proof your wages are being withheld in the nation’s capital.
Multiple D.C. officials FOX 5 spoke with Thursday view this as a possible loophole and believe it’s not in the spirit of the law to just be renting in D.C.; The deputy mayor should be living in D.C.
"What’s his hardship? Come on. Represent the people you say you represent as well as co-mingle among them," Dave Hobson said.
"I would say leaders should live where they govern," Benjamin Dupasquale added.
FOX 5 checked in with D.C.’s Board of Elections and they tell us Geldart registered to vote in the nation’s capital back in January 2018.
The mayor’s office sent FOX 5 this statement via text: "All matters raised this week regarding Chris Geldart are under review. He remains on leave."
D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen also weighed in with this response:
"I’ve had a very strong working relationship with Deputy Mayor Geldart over his many years in the District government, and he’s proven himself to be a partner in tackling pressing challenges facing the District. That said, I’ve seen the video footage, and these charges are serious and concerning. Alleged assault and physical intimidation cannot be dismissed as a minor dispute. District leaders should never represent physical force as an acceptable way to solve problems, and it cannot be condoned, regardless of the parties. I’ve spoken with the Mayor's leadership team, and they’ve conveyed to me the seriousness with which they’re reviewing the incident. There’s now also a separate Virginia legal process that must be allowed to play out. In both, I want to see a fair, swift, and accountable process - and one that clearly holds District leaders to the high level of accountability that we also expect from others, especially for a position entrusted with the responsibility of leading the District’s public safety response and services for victims and survivors of crime."
The video of Deputy Mayor Chris Geldart's altercation with an Arlington Gold's Gym employee below: