In an attempt to prevent a government shutdown last month, Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., is accused of setting off a fire alarm in a House of Representatives facility before a crucial vote.
Bowman’s arraignment is set for Thursday morning after he was accused of falsely pulling a fire alarm on Wednesday afternoon.
Jamaal Bowman was criminally charged in the Capitol Hill fire alarm incident.
Bowman was charged in Washington, D.C. Superior Court with a misdemeanour count of falsely pulling the alarm following an investigation from Capitol Police and House Administrative Committee.
If found guilty of the crime, the New York lawmaker could spend up to six months behind bars.
Bowman’s chief of staff wrote on X at the time of the incident: “Congressman Bowman did not realize he would trigger a building alarm as he was rushing to make an urgent vote. The Congressman regrets any confusion.”
According to an arrest warrant submitted by Supervisory Special Agent Joseph McAtee of the U.S. Capitol Police, officers were alerted to a fire alarm on 30 September at 12:05 p.m. inside the second-floor Cannon House Office Building.
During Bowman’s interrogation with Capitol Police agents, when asked if he had any knowledge of the fire alarm, he responded with a “yes.” While adding that the door is usually open, the Democratic Party representative claimed he was rushing because votes were being called.
As stated in the arrest warrant, Bowman told the agents that he had noticed the doors nearby with the label “emergency exit only push to open,” and that’s why “he pushed on the door and pulled the lever next to it, which must have been the alarm.”
The warrant states, “[Bowman] advised that usually when votes are called, all doors are open, and that door is usually open (the second-floor door leading to Independence Ave). The defendant further stated that this door was a usual door he uses. The defendant advised that he then went to a Dem (Democratic) meeting and a vote at the Capitol, then the House Sergeant at Arms contacted him.”
Bowman informed the agent that he did not intend to set off a fire alarm or interfere with a congressional process. He also stated that he needed to consult a lawyer and wouldn’t make any more comments.
Capitol Police allegedly examined security camera footage and found evidence that Bowman tried to open both doors before setting off the fire alarm and leaving.
Following his indictment, Bowman told Fox News that he was happy for the quick resolution” and had a plea agreement with the prosecutors.
He stated, “It was a lapse of judgment, if you will. … Wasn’t a conscious decision to do something wrong,”
Although a representative for Bowman told Axios that Assistant Attorney General Peter Saba in Washington, D.C., agreed to drop the prosecution against Bowman if he apologized and paid a $1,000 fine, Bowman is scheduled for arraignment this Thursday.
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