Dem rep enters guilty plea for fire alarm incident

 October 28, 2023

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge on October 26 for activating a false fire alarm in a Capitol Hill building last month, as The Epoch Times reported.

Before entering the courthouse on September 30, Bowman spoke to reporters about the incident and stated that he was not attempting to "disrupt" official government proceedings with his actions.

Regarding pulling the alarm, the lawmaker stated, "I admitted that from the very beginning. So, you know, got to take responsibility."

On October 25, Bowman was charged with a misdemeanor for falsely activating a fire alarm in a congressional building.

According to court documents from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the New York lawmaker pulled the fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building on September 30 as the House prepared to vote on stopgap funding legislation.

A 30-minute-long evacuation was prompted by the alarm in a House office building. The New York lawmaker admitted to pulling the alarm but claimed it was an accident because he was in a hurry to vote through an unexpectedly closed door.

Possible Motivation for Bowman's Actions

At the time of the evacuation, House Democrats were attempting to delay a vote on a funding bill to keep federal agencies open, claiming they needed more time to study a bill that Republicans had unexpectedly released to prevent a government shutdown.

The funding measure was ultimately approved by a majority of Republicans and nearly all Democrats, including Bowman.

According to an agreement with prosecutors, the false fire alarm charge will be dropped after the lawmaker pays a $1,000 fine and serves three months of probation.

In the affidavit supporting Bowman's arrest warrant, it is stated that the alarm caused the evacuation of the Cannon building.

Bowman approaches a set of doors, pulls the fire alarm after attempting to exit, and then walks away from the set of doors, as depicted on security footage, according to the document.

Bowman previously admitted activating the alarm at the time in question but denied doing so intentionally to delay the vote, stating that he mistook the alarm box's pull-down trigger for a door-opening mechanism. Additionally, he stated that he was in a rush to return to the floor for the vote.

Calls for Resignation

Republicans have criticized Bowman, referring to his explanation as an "excuse" and noting that he passed multiple police officers without informing them that he had activated the alarm.

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) demanded the expulsion of the lawmaker, stating shortly after the incident, "This is the United States Congress, not a New York City high school."

Malliotakis spoke to the irony of Bowman's prior employment in a post on X, formerly Twitter: "Of all people, a high school principal knows what a fire alarm does. No one is buying the excuses and he must be held accountable!"

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