(WASHINGTON) — Rep. Jamaal Bowman will plead guilty after being 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.
“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,” Bowman said in a statement Wednesday after he was hit with the misdemeanor charge. “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.”
The office of the D.C. attorney general confirmed in a statement that Bowman “is pleading guilty and has agreed to pay the maximum fine.”
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.
“We finished our investigation. Our agents gathered all the evidence, packaged it up, and sent the entire case with charges to prosecutors for their consideration,” The United States Capitol Police said in a separate statement
Bowman admitted to pulling the alarm — though 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 — 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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