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Rep. Jamaal Bowman charged with misdemeanor for pulling fire alarm in Capitol building

U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York is facing a misdemeanor charge for pulling a fire alarm in a Capitol office building last month during negotiations to avoid a government shutdown that led to a delayed vote.

Bowman — a Democrat who represents the 16th Congressional District covering parts of Westchester County and the Bronx — admitted in September that he mistakenly pulled the fire alarm inside the Cannon House Office Building because he thought he was opening a locked door. The incident was caught on video.

The ensuing building-wide alarm forced an evacuation of the building for about an hour before Capitol police determined there was no danger.

Several Republicans accused Bowman of trying to delay the vote to fund the government ahead of the shutdown deadline despite Bowman’s support for the legislation.

At the time, former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy called for an investigation and likened the congressman’s actions to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The situation worsened for Bowman several days later when a memo of talking points prepared by his office suggested Republicans “focus their energy on the Nazi members of their party before anything else.”

Bowman reached an agreement with the D.C. attorney general to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge and pay a $1,000 fine. The charge will be withdrawn in three months if he makes a formal apology to the Capitol police.

“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,” Bowman said in a statement Wednesday. “I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped.”

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