Police lights
Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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In July 2020, police stopped Ward 5 D.C. Council candidate Gordon-Andrew Fletcher in Hyattsville on suspicion of driving while intoxicated at roughly 12:45 a.m., Loose Lips has recently learned. It was the second time the now-36-year-old was stopped on suspicion of a DUI. The first time was in D.C. in 2012.

Fletcher tells LL three White officers stopped him while on his way home from a friend’s house in Hyattsville because his headlights were off. He says his wife drove the car last and turned off the automatic headlights.

“I’d just gotten a new car,” Fletcher says. “I was driving back, and three White police officers stopped me. I was beyond terrified. I said ‘I’m nervous, because I’m a Black man, you’re making me nervous.’ They were like, ‘Don’t even start that.’ But I was terrified.”

Fletcher says the officers made him do field sobriety tests, but he didn’t take a breath test. He says he hadn’t been drinking, but the officers still cited him for failing to turn on his headlights, driving under the influence of alcohol, failure to obey traffic signs, and negligent driving.

He pleaded guilty to the negligent driving citation, and says the judge threw out the rest of the charges.

Fletcher was also stopped in September 2012 on L Street NW, just north of McPherson Square. Court records show that he failed the heel-to-toe sobriety test.

He repeatedly told officers that he has issues with balance, according to the police narrative, and that he was training for a Tough Mudder competition. Officers indicate that Fletcher then demonstrated a position necessary for the competition with both arms stretched out and partially bent and the elbows and wrists with his right leg raised and bent at the knee and his left leg straight.

The officers “all recognized the position to be similar to a ‘Karate Kid pose’ from the 1984 film ‘The Karate Kid,'” police said in court records.

Fletcher tells LL that the 2012 incident was a youthful mistake that he’s owned up to (he was 27 when it happened).

“I haven’t had any other situations like this and I don’t ever intend to,” he says. He adds that before he decided to officially announce his campaign earlier this year, he consulted with a close group of friends about whether they thought his driving record would torpedo his chance of getting elected.

“Many of them made it clear, ‘as long as it was just once, it was an unfortunate situation, and it won’t happen again, we still have your back,'” he says. “And that gave me the confidence to keep going.”

Fletcher is one of five candidates running to fill the seat Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is giving up at the end of his current term. The other candidates are Faith Gibson Hubbard, Zachary Parker, Vincent Orange, and Harry Thomas Jr.