Jamaal Bowman charged with misdemeanor for pulling fire alarm

October 26, 2023

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Wednesday after being charged with falsely pulling the fire alarm in a Congressional office building.

“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 in a statement Wednesday.

The office of the DC Attorney General confirmed in a statement that Bowman “is pleading guilty and has agreed to pay the maximum fine.”

The incident in question took place on September 30, shortly before Bowman and other House lawmakers were scheduled to vote on a bill to keep the government funded and avoid a federal shutdown.

Bowman quickly attempted to clear the air, writing in a statement that he was “rushing to make a vote” when he “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 that it would open the door. I regret this and sincerely apologize for any confusion this cost.”

He insisted that he was not purposely trying to delay the vote—quite the opposite. Bowman met with Capitol Police afterward, at their request, and explained what happened.

Police have noted the there was a sign posted at the alarm stating, “Emergency Exit Only Push Until Alarm Sounds.”

According to the terms of the plea deal, Bowman’s sentencing will be deferred for three months. During that time, Bowman will be on probation, will pay a $1,000 fine and will write an apology letter to the Capitol Police.

After pleading guilty Wednesday, Bowman repeated to reporters that he considered the incident “pretty embarrassing,” but said he was glad he was “one step closer to putting this behind me.” 

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