Rep. Jamaal Bowman charged with one count of falsely pulling fire alarm

ByLuke Barr ABCNews logo
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
NY Rep. Jamaal Bowman charged with falsely pulling fire alarm
Rep. Bowman say it was an accident and that he didn't pull the alarm to delay a key government funding vote.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman has been 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, according to court records.

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.

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.

"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 statement.

Bowman is set to be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in D.C. Superior Court.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.