Rep. Jamaal Bowman Charged For Pulling Fire Alarm In Capitol Office Building

The New York congressman said he mistakenly set off the alarm while rushing to make a crucial vote.

New York Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman is expected to appear in D.C. Superior Court Thursday (Oct. 26) and pleaded guilty to falsely pulling a fire alarm in a Capitol Hill office building, prompting an evacuation, CBS News reports.

U.S. Capitol Police announced an investigation into Bowman triggering the alarm on Sept. 30 as the House of Representatives prepared to conduct a last-minute vote on a funding bill to avert a government shutdown. Security cameras recorded the incident.

Prosecutors charged Bowman with a single misdemeanor for falsely pulling a fire alarm, which carries a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment and a fine. He agreed to pay the maximum fine of $1,000 and write an apology letter, according to the Attorney General for the District of Columbia’s office.

"Congressman Bowman was treated like anyone else who violates the law in the District of Columbia. Based on the evidence presented by Capitol Police, we charged the only crime that we have jurisdiction to prosecute," a statement from the prosecutor’s office said.

Capitol Police Investigating Rep. Jamaal Bowman For Pulling Fire Alarm

Capitol Police Investigating Rep. Jamaal Bowman For Pulling Fire Alarm

NBC News reports that Bowman’s office confirmed that he agreed to pay the fine and write the letter so that the prosecutor would withdraw the charges in three months.

Bowman has admitted to pulling the alarm but said it was a mistake, which some Republicans doubted and pressed for an investigation.

In a statement, Bowman said he feels exonerated that the investigation found no evidence that he intended to obstruct the House vote.

According to Bowman, he was rushing to make the crucial vote when he came to a door that is usually open for votes. He pulled the alarm, thinking it would unlock the door.

In a police affidavit released Wednesday (Oct. 25), an investigating officer said surveillance video showed Bowman pushing multiple doors that would not open before he looked at the emergency fire alarm pull station "and upon seeing it, he reached out and pulled the fire alarm down."

The affidavit said Bowman acknowledged that the doors stated, "emergency exit only push to open." Bowman admitted to hearing the alarm and did not tell anyone at the time about pulling the alarm.

Bowman stated that all doors are usually open when votes are called, including the door he attempted to open, the affidavit said. The congressman denied to the investigator that he intended to trigger the alarm and disrupt the proceeding.

“I look forward to putting this behind me and to continue working hard to deliver for New York,” Bowman stated.

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