A former candidate for Alexandria’s city council and school board was convicted Monday of brandishing a weapon but found not guilty of impersonating a law enforcement officer during an altercation with city employees six weeks ago.
Scott Gordon was ordered to take an anger management class and surrender his gun. Judge Donald Haddock Jr. also ordered a 30-day jail sentence, but suspended the jail time provided Gordon completes the classes and does not have additional run-ins with the law in the next year.
“I’m a married man. I have a three-year-old daughter,” Gordon told the judge before sentencing. “There’s more to me than the arguments that have been presented here today.” He cited his involvement in various civic groups and non-profits, including animal rescue, disaster relief, and art therapy for wounded veterans.
The case stemmed from a Sept. 19 incident that began when Gordon parked in a loading zone just off King Street, according to testimony at the Alexandria District Court trial.
Lewis Simms, a street-sweeper with Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, testified that he told Gordon he could not park there. Gordon replied that he had handicapped plates and could park anywhere, Simms said, and went across the street to CVS.
While Gordon was gone, Simms says he ran into his friend Tatiana Bentley, a parking enforcement officer patrolling King Street. When the car owner came back, he saw Bentley, incorrectly surmised that she had been called there to give him a ticket, and called Simms a derogatory name, both Simms and Bentley testified. He then opened the door to his car, put his CVS bags inside, and took a gun out of the door and put it in his waistband, under his sweater, they testified.
The two men continued to argue, Simms and Bentley testified, until two sheriff’s deputies and a police officer arrived on the scene. Gordon put the gun back in his car, Bentley said.
Alexandria Police Officer William Booth testified that he told Bentley to issue a citation. According to several witnesses, Gordon then sat down in the open door of his car and warned that there would be trouble if he was cited. At that point, Booth testified, he directed a sheriff’s deputy to secure the gun.
Simms and Bentley testified that during the argument, Gordon claimed to be either an FBI agent or CIA officer. Witnesses did not agree on exactly what he said. Gordon later told a detective that he said only that he could be a law enforcement agent, after Simms asked why he had a gun, the detective testified. Haddock did not conclude precisely what Gordon said, but said such a comment would have been “mere puffery” and did not rise to the level of impersonation.
Gordon was charged six days later.
The testimony heard in court Monday contradicts an initial account of the situation that was given by an Alexandria police spokeswoman, who said Gordon drove away from the scene after showing a gun to get out of a ticket.
On the brandishing charge, Gordon’s attorney argued that her client was merely securing the gun in his waistband and not using it to threaten. Haddock sided with the Commonwealth, ruling that there was an “intent to intimidate” in his carrying the weapon.
After the verdict, Gordon pronounced himself “pleased” with the verdict. “Having been falsely accused I can only hope that the Commonwealths Attorney’s office attempts to meet a much higher standard of evidentiary proof prior to arrest, prior to destroying a man’s reputation and prior to parading him before the city as guilty before being proven innocent,” he said in a statement. He does not currently plan to appeal to the circuit court.
Gordon, a Republican, dropped his city council bid last year and endorsed a Democratic candidate. He dropped out of the school board race that same year after acknowledging that he had falsely claimed to have a PhD in psychology.