Rep. Jamaal Bowman has announced his intention to plead guilty after being charged with falsely pulling a fire alarm at a congressional office building before the House of Representatives voted on a stopgap spending bill to fund the government last month.
In a statement, Bowman expressed his gratitude for the quick resolution from the District of Columbia Attorney General’s office and the United States Capitol Police General Counsel’s office. He clarified that he did not intend to obstruct any House vote or proceedings and took responsibility for activating the fire alarm. Bowman agreed to pay the maximum fine associated with the misdemeanor charge and looked forward to having the charges ultimately dropped. He also acknowledged the potential for political distraction, stating, “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 continuing to work hard to deliver for New Yorkers.”
The D.C. attorney general’s office confirmed Bowman’s intent to plead guilty and pay the maximum fine.
According to court documents, Bowman knowingly pulled the fire alarm in the Cannon House office building on September 30 while the House was voting on government funding. Security camera footage showed Bowman looking at doors labeled “Emergency Exit Only Push Until Alarm sounds” and, when finding them locked, pulling the fire alarm. The complaint alleges that Bowman did not alert Capitol Police officers or inform them that he had pulled the fire alarm.
Four minutes after triggering the alarm, Bowman entered the Capitol.
Bowman admitted to pulling the alarm but described the incident as an “innocent mistake.” He explained that he was rushing to make a vote and did not anticipate the alarm’s impact on the entire building.
In an interview with Capitol Police, Bowman clarified that the door he pulled was typically unlocked during votes. He did not inform anyone about the incident to avoid missing votes related to government funding. Despite accusations from Republicans that he intentionally delayed the vote, Bowman denied any such motive.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman is scheduled to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.