Jamaal Bowman is facing charges after allegedly activating a fire alarm in the House of Representatives building prior to a pivotal vote aimed at preventing a government shutdown.
The charge against Bowman for falsely activating a fire alarm was filed on Wednesday afternoon, with his arraignment set for the following morning.
“[Bowman] advised that usually when votes are called, all doors are open, and that door is usually open (the second-floor door leading to Independence Ave). The defendant further stated that this door was a usual door he uses. The defendant advised that he then went to a [Democratic] meeting and a vote at the Capitol, then the House Sergeant at Arms contacted him,” the warrant states.
U.S. Capitol Police Supervisory Special Agent Joseph McAtee detailed in an arrest warrant that on Sept. 30 at 12:05 p.m., authorities were alerted to a fire alarm activation within the Cannon House Office Building’s second floor. Upon questioning by Capitol Police agents, Bowman confirmed his knowledge about the fire alarm incident. He explained that he was hurrying due to an impending vote and mentioned that the door he approached is typically unlocked.
Bowman, as per the arrest warrant, noticed doors marked “emergency exit only push to open.” Acting on this, he pressed the door and activated the lever adjacent to it, which he believes was the alarm. Security footage analyzed by Capitol Police allegedly shows Bowman trying to access both doors before triggering the fire alarm and subsequently departing the scene.
Bowman communicated to Fox News after the charge that he appreciates the swift resolution and has reached a plea agreement with the prosecutors. Bowman’s agreement entails a $1,000 fine and mandates him to maintain a clean record for a three-month duration.
“It was a lapse of judgment if you will … Wasn’t a conscious decision to do something wrong,” Bowman said by way of explanation.
During the incident, Bowman’s chief of staff clarified that the congressman inadvertently set off the building alarm while hurrying to cast an urgent vote, expressing regret for any ensuing confusion.
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