New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) has been charged with a misdemeanor for intentionally causing a false fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building. The charge was brought on after US Capitol Police (USCP) concluded their investigation into the incident that occurred on July 28, 2021.
According to USCP, their agents have gathered all the evidence and have presented a probable cause arrest warrant to the D.C. Attorney General. The charge carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Bowman has been ordered to appear in D.C. Superior Court on Thursday morning for his arraignment.
Bowman's actions caused chaos on the House floor, as members were forced to evacuate the building and postpone a vote on a government funding bill. Republicans have since drafted a resolution calling for Bowman's expulsion from Congress.
BREAKING: Rep Jamaal Bowman has been criminally charged with one misdemeanor count of falsely pulling a fire alarm for the September 30th incident in the Cannon Office Building, according to court documents, @dnlbrns & I report.
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) October 25, 2023
This incident has caused widespread backlash from lawmakers, who are calling for swift action to be taken against Bowman. It has also raised questions about the congressman's credibility, as he initially claimed that he pulled the fire alarm in order to open a door for members to enter the House floor. However, according to Breitbart News, Bowman was seen throwing emergency warning signs to the ground before pulling the alarm and running down a set of stairs to exit the building from another floor.
In light of these new details, Bowman's statement claiming responsibility for activating the fire alarm and agreeing to pay a $1000 fine and issue a formal apology may not be enough to satisfy his critics. Republicans in Congress are already planning to introduce a resolution to expel Bowman, and the congressman could face further consequences from Congress, including censure and even expulsion.
In an attempt to avoid any additional consequences, Bowman has reached an agreement with the Attorney General to have his charge dropped after three months, as reported by Axios. As part of the agreement, Bowman will avoid serving any jail time but will still have to adhere to certain conditions. These include paying the aforementioned fine and issuing a formal apology.
Bowman spox says the AG agreed to withdraw the charge in three months if he formally apologizes and pays a $1,000 fine.
"I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped." https://t.co/oftSAWp38b
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) October 25, 2023
The incident has raised concerns about security protocols in the Capitol building and the consequences for those who intentionally disrupt government proceedings. Many are pushing for stricter measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
In his statement, Bowman acknowledges his responsibility for activating the fire alarm but also expresses his hope for the charges to be dropped. However, he is not completely out of the woods yet, as the resolution to expel him from Congress and any potential censure from his colleagues could still greatly impact his political career.
As the case heads to court, many will be closely following Bowman's fate and what actions Congress will take in response to his actions. This incident serves as a reminder that even members of Congress are not above the law and will be held accountable for their actions.