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Congressman faces misdemeanor charge stemming from fire alarm incident

8 months 8 hours 33 minutes ago Wednesday, October 25 2023 Oct 25, 2023 October 25, 2023 4:46 PM October 25, 2023 in News
By: ABC News

WASHINGTON - Rep. Jamaal Bowman has been charged with falsely pulling the fire alarm at a congressional office building before the House of Representatives voted on a stopgap spending bill to fund the government last month, according to court records.

Court documents say Bowman, D-N.Y., knowingly pulled the fire alarm in the Cannon House office building on Sept. 30 while the House was voting to keep the government funded.

Security camera footage reviewed by the Capitol Police show Bowman allegedly looking at the doors which read “Emergency Exit Only Push Until Alarm sounds,” and when those doors were locked, looked at the fire alarm and allegedly pulled it, according to the court documents.

The complaint alleges that after sounding the fire alarm, Bowman walked by Capitol Police officers and didn’t say anything or alert them that he was the one that pulled the fire alarm.

Four minutes after pulling the alarm, he entered the Capitol.

"At approximately 1208 hours, the defendant enters the United States Capitol Building and while showing his credentials, he walks by two USCP officers who are posted at the inside entrance, staffing the metal detector," the complaint says.

Bowman admitted to pulling the alarm -- though he told ABC News the incident was an "innocent mistake."

"I was rushing to make a vote," Bowman said.

"I didn't know it would trigger the whole building," he added.

In an interview with Capitol Police, Bowman explained that the door he pulled was usually unlocked during votes and that he didn’t tell anyone he pulled the fire alarm, because he didn’t want to miss votes to keep the government funded. Still, Republicans accused Bowman of intentionally delaying the vote to allow more time for Democrats to vote to fund the government.

"I was rushing to make a vote," Bowman said.

"I didn't know it would trigger the whole building," he added.

In an interview with Capitol Police, Bowman explained that the door he pulled was usually unlocked during votes and that he didn’t tell anyone he pulled the fire alarm, because he didn’t want to miss votes to keep the government funded. Still, Republicans accused Bowman of intentionally delaying the vote to allow more time for Democrats to vote to fund the government -- accusations Bowman swatted away.

Bowman is set to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.

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