ARLINGTON, Va. — CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Geldart was suspended. He is on leave, according to the mayor's office.
DC Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Chris Geldart is facing assault charges for allegedly choking someone during a dispute outside of a gym in Arlington on Saturday.
Mayor Muriel Bowser's office confirmed on Wednesday that Geldart, 53, is "on leave" pending an investigation into the allegations.
Geldart is expected to appear in court on Oct. 17, 2022 at 2 p.m.
Around 5:22 p.m. on Oct. 3, officers were dispatched to the 3900 block of Wilson Boulevard for reports of an assault days prior. Police determined that around 12:25 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, Geldart and another man got into a verbal fight after the door of Geldart's parked car hit the door of the other man's car. The fight escalated, and police say Geldart grabbed the other man by the throat.
Detectives say during the course of the investigation, a suspect description was developed and on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the victim responded to the Office of the Magistrate, completed a criminal complaint and a warrant for Assault and Battery was issued. Geldart was notified by telephone of the warrant, turned himself in and was released on a summons.
"We take any accusations seriously and are reviewing the matter," Bowser's office said in a statement to WUSA9. "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."
WUSA9 reached out to the other man involved in the incident, Dustin Woodard, who said he was not aware of Geldart's position with the District until a few days later.
"What he did was wrong and shouldn't go unpunished, especially given the position that he holds," Woodard said. "But, we also need to show some compassion for him in this matter as well. The man has a family that he's responsible for feeding and needs to be able to provide for. This situation puts a bit of a wrench in that."
Woodard went on to say that Geldart did not hurt him during the fight.
"It was a simple matter that could have been over with quickly, but escalated too far," Woodard said.
Bowser appointed Geldart to his current position on Jan. 28, 2021. He had previously served as the District’s operational lead during the emergency response to COVID-19 and director of the Department of Public Works. Prior to that he worked as director of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency from 2012-2017.
On the federal government level, Geldart served as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Director of the National Capital Region Coordination Office. Before joining FEMA in April 2007, Mr. Geldart worked for the State of Maryland as Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.