Representative Jamaal Bowman Criminally Charged for Capitol Hill Fire Alarm Incident

Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman of Yonkers now faces criminal charges after an incident involving the unauthorized activation of a fire alarm during a House vote at the Cannon House Office building on September 30th. Consequently, the Congressman is set to be arraigned on Thursday for a misdemeanor count.

Capitol Police recently concluded their investigation into the controversial September 30th event. The incident occurred amid a heated debate concerning a stopgap bill aimed at averting a looming government shutdown. Bowman’s office has characterized the incident as an inadvertent mistake.

A mistake or malicious?

Bowman, a former school principal, maintains that he never intended to disrupt House proceedings deliberately. He explained that he pulled the alarm believing it would open a nearby door.

I thought the alarm would open the door. I was rushing to make a vote; I was trying to get to a door.

The incident swiftly garnered attention, leading to an ongoing investigation by the Congressional Administration Committee. The Committee’s spokesperson issued a statement at the time. It read, “[Bowman] pulled a fire alarm in Cannon this morning, and an investigation into why it was pulled is underway.”

Jamaal Bowman fire alarm
Security footage of Bowman pulling alarm – credit: U.S. Capitol Police

Despite Bowman’s explanation, allegations emerged that his actions were intentional. That the alarm amounted to an attempt to stall the vote on the government funding deadline extension. The accusation drew a fierce response from the Congressman, who vehemently denied any such motives, branding them as “complete BS.”

However, not everyone believed Bowman’s account. Representative Bryan Steil, chair of the House Administration Committee, expressed skepticism about Bowman’s defense. “Bowman’s excuse does not pass the sniff test,” Steil remarked.

As the legal process unfolds, the incident continues to spark debate on Capitol Hill. Questions about the true intent behind the fire alarm activation persist, and the pending arraignment will undoubtedly add another layer of complexity to this developing story.

Update

Bowman released the following statement

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.

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.

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