Bowman Charged Over Fire Alarm Incident
U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) speaks to reporters after a news conference on TikTok in front of the U.S. Capitol on March 22, 2023 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) has been charged for pulling a fire alarm in a House office building ahead of a government spending vote last month, authorities said on Wednesday.

D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb levied one misdemeanor count of falsely pulling a fire alarm against Bowman for the incident on September 30, according to court documents. Bowman has been ordered to report to the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) headquarters on Thursday to be booked, fingerprinted, photographed, and processed. He is expected to appear in D.C. Superior Court at 9:30 a.m.

As reported by NBC News, the charge carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail, but the D.C. Attorney General’s Office said Bowman “is pleading guilty and has agreed to pay the maximum fine” — which is $1,000 — and Bowman will issue a formal apology to the Capitol Police. If Bowman sticks to the terms of the deal, which includes three months probation, the charge will be dropped, according to CNN.

The Capitol Police opened an investigation after the firm alarm led to an evacuation of Cannon House Office Building. The inquiry resulted in a criminal referral to the D.C. prosecutor.

“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,” the Capitol Police told The Daily Wire.

Bowman released a statement on Wednesday indicating that he wanted to move past the incident.

“I’m thankful for the quick resolution from the District of Columbia Attorney General’s office on this issue and grateful that the United States Capitol Police General Counsel’s office agreed I did not obstruct nor intend to obstruct any House vote or proceedings. I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped,” Bowman said.

“I think we all know that Republicans will attempt to use this to distract everyone from their mess,” Bowman added, “but I look forward to putting this behind me and to continue working hard to deliver for New Yorkers.”

An affidavit in support of an arrest warrant contained a description of what happened by Supervisory Special Agent Joseph McAtee of the U.S. Capitol Police, including details about searching for a suspect, details about his interview with Bowman, and review of security camera footage which showed the defendant jogging past Capitol Police officers without saying anything to them after pulling the fire alarm.

After noting there was no fire, the affidavit said, “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.

Bowman apologized for pulling the fire alarm soon after the incident that took place on September 30, which was a Saturday.

“Today, as I was rushing to make a vote, I came to a door that is usually open for votes but today would not open. I am embarrassed to admit that I activated the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this caused,” Bowman said at the time.

In his statement, Bowman also denied that pulling the fire alarm was a delay tactic in a showdown over spending that ultimately resulted in Washington averting a government shutdown with a 45-day continuing resolution.

“I want to be very clear, this was not me, in any way, trying to delay any vote,” the congressman said. “It was the exact opposite – I was trying urgently to get to a vote, which I ultimately did and joined my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to keep our government open. I also met after the vote with the Sergeant at Arms and the Capitol Police, at their request, and explained what had happened. My hope is that no one will make more of this than it was. I am working hard every day, including today, to do my job, to do it well, and deliver for my constituents.”

Bowman faced blowback over the incident — including a GOP bid to expel him from Congress and comparisons to the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) offered a defense of Bowman in a response to a Capitol Hill journalist who explained why Bowman’s explanation made “no sense” to him.

“Fwiw, Cannon construction reroutes have made the tunnel walks from Cannon to the Capitol much longer than going outside. Entire tunnels are closed & some offices near construction have disorienting routes. The NJ/Ind exit (which this looks like) is the easiest & it’s usually open,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a post to X.

Bowman’s office also released a memo to the offices of other Democrats with multiple suggested talking points regarding to fire alarm incident, including: “Republicans need to instead focus their energy on the Nazi members of their party before anything else.” The congressman later blamed his staff for the memo, saying he “condemn[s] the use of the term Nazi out of its precise definition.”

House Administration Chairman Bryan Steil (R-WI) released a statement on Wednesday dismissing Bowman’s explanation of what transpired on September 30.

“Rep. Bowman’s excuse does not pass the sniff test. After pulling the fire alarm, Rep. Bowman fled the scene, passed by multiple Capitol Police officers and had every opportunity to alert USCP of his mistake,” Steil said. “I want to thank U.S. Capitol Police for their swift attention to this incident, and encourage the Ethics Committee to further pursue this matter.”

Word of the charge against Bowman emerged in the hours after the GOP-led House elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) to be its new speaker.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Bowman Charged Over Fire Alarm Incident