Representative Jamal Bowman, Democrat of New York, has been accused by the DC attorney general of sounding a fire alarm in a House office building when there was no emergency.
Bowman has been summoned to appear in DC Superior Court at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, where the congressman is expected to plead guilty. He will also be booked, fingerprinted and processed on misdemeanor charges.
If he abides by the terms of an agreement with the DC Attorney General’s Office, including three months of probation, the misdemeanor charge will be dropped. The deal requires Bowman to issue a formal apology to the U.S. Capitol Police and pay a $1,000 fine for improperly pulling a fire alarm, his office told CNN.
“I am grateful for the District of Columbia Attorney General’s Office’s swift resolution of this matter, and the U.S. Capitol Police General Counsel’s Office’s acknowledgment that I did not or did not intend to obstruct any House vote or action,” Bowman said. A statement on Wednesday. “I am responsible for activating the fire alarm, I will pay the fines issued and I expect these charges will eventually be dropped.”
The DC Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that “Bowman was treated like anyone else who breaks the law in the District of Columbia.”
“Based on the evidence presented by the Capital Police, we charged the only offense we had jurisdiction to prosecute. He pleads guilty and agrees to pay the maximum fine,” the office said.
In late September, just before the House was scheduled to open, Bowman was caught on tape pulling a fire alarm at the Cannon House office building. Vote on the Government Finance Bill. The building was subsequently evacuated.
The Congressman said following the incident that it was an accident.
“I was trying to get to a door. I thought the alarm was going to open the door and I accidentally pulled the fire alarm to open the door,” Bowman said at the time, adding: “I was trying to cast my vote and the normally open door didn’t open. Opened, it closed.”
In an interview with a USCP officer after the incident, Bowman said he was “trying to get out of the building,” “pushing open a door and pulling the lever next to it, which should have been a warning.”
Bowman said the door was “a regular door that he uses” and that he did not want to cause security concerns or disrupt congressional proceedings, the USCP official wrote in the affidavit. The officer noted that several emergency exit signs were posted at the door.
“The defendant stated that the door was still not open and went to the first floor to exit,” the affidavit states.
Bowman told the officer that he heard an alarm and “was in a hurry because the votes were called and he didn’t want to miss the vote to fund the government,” according to the affidavit. He did not tell anyone what happened, despite passing several USCP officers immediately after the incident.
This story has been updated with additional details.