Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) has found himself in even hotter water after being charged with pulling a fire alarm in a House office building just ahead of a crucial government spending vote on Sept. 30. The incident sparked outrage among Republicans, who have called for his expulsion from Congress, drawing comparisons to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol.
— Daily Wire News (@DailyWireNews) October 25, 2023
D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb has filed one misdemeanor count against Bowman for falsely triggering the fire alarm, per court documents.
According to reports from NBC News, the charge carries a maximum jail term of six months. However, Bowman has opted to plead guilty and has agreed to pay the maximum fine of $1,000.
Additionally, he has committed to issuing a formal apology to the Capitol Police. Should he adhere to the terms of the agreement, which includes three months of probation, the charge against him will be dropped, according to CNN.
The fire alarm incident prompted an immediate investigation by the Capitol Police, leading to the evacuation of the Cannon House Office Building. The Capitol Police stated at the time, “We finished our investigation. Our agents gathered all the evidence, packaged it up, and sent the entire case with charges to prosecutors for their consideration,” as reported by The Daily Wire.
The arrest warrant for Bowman contained a detailed account of the incident by Supervisory Special Agent Joseph McAtee of the U.S. Capitol Police. It included information about the search for a suspect, an interview with Bowman, and a review of security camera footage that captured the defendant jogging past Capitol Police officers without communicating after triggering the fire alarm.
The affidavit stated, “Therefore, based upon the evidence, this affiant has probable cause to believe that the defendant willfully or knowingly gave a false fire alarm within the District of Columbia, in violation” of D.C. code.”
While claiming to feel remorse for his actions in an apology letter addressed to U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, Bowman vehemently denied that the fire alarm incident was a deliberate delay tactic in the showdown over government spending. “I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused. But I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote,” he stated.
Instead, he explained that he was urgently trying to reach a vote, which he eventually did, joining his colleagues in a bipartisan effort to keep the government operational. Bowman also disclosed that he met with the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police after the vote, as requested, to provide an explanation of the incident.
While addressing the situation, Bowman also said he anticipated Republican efforts to divert attention from other matters, saying, “I think we all know that Republicans will attempt to use this to distract everyone from their mess but I look forward to putting this behind me and to continue working hard to deliver for New Yorkers.”