Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York pleaded guilty to one count of falsely pulling a fire alarm.
Bowman was captured on Capitol security footage pulling a fire alarm in the House Cannon office building. The congressman was accused of trying to delay a vote on a stop-gap spending bill being held on Sept. 30.
The Democrat was offered a deferred prosecution agreement by prosecutors. He must pay a $1,000 fine and write a letter of apology to the chief of the United States Capitol Police. Following the completion of those terms and provided he breaks no other laws, the charges against Bowman will be dismissed in three months.
“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 votes or proceedings,” Bowman said in a statement on Oct. 25. “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 to continue working hard to deliver for New Yorkers,” he added.
Bowman will appear in court on Jan. 29, 2024 for a formal dismissal of his case.
The congressman has repeatedly denied that he pulled the fire alarm to delay the budget vote. The former school principal told reporters he mistook the alarm while rushing to get the vote, thinking it would open the door.
During his hearing, prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Dorsey Jones that “in the minutes after Bowman pulled the alarm, he walked past seven uniformed Capitol Police officers without telling any of them that he was the one who pulled the alarm or that there was no fire in the Cannon office building,” per NBC News.
Police reports on the incident note that the door near the fire alarm was marked with a sign that read “Emergency Exit Only” and that the alarm itself is embossed with the word “FIRE.” According to Fox News, video footage shows Bowman trying to open both of the double doors and then pulling the fire alarm before walking away.
Congresswoman Lisa McClain of Michigan announced on Oct. 25 that she was introducing a resolution to censure Bowman and have him removed from his committee assignments.
“Capitol Police have concluded their investigation into Rep. Bowman and found his action of pulling the fire alarm in Cannon to be illegal,” she wrote on X.