Controversy arose last month when Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) stood accused of falsely pulling a fire alarm in a Capitol office building amid a pivotal floor vote, and newly released footage of what occurred supports claims of his culpability, as Breitbart reports.
The incident at issue took place in September when lawmakers were scrambling to vote on a government spending bill intended to stave off a possible shutdown.
It was then that Bowman activated a fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building, forcing an emergency response and an evacuation of the premises, something which led some Republicans to accuse him of sabotaging the aforementioned voting process.
In the immediate aftermath of the alarm, Bowman claimed that he pulled the alarm on the mistaken belief that it would open an exit door he hoped to use on his way to cast his vote in the chamber.
“I don't know why this has gotten so much attention. I was literally just in a rush to go vote, man! That's all it was,” the liberal legislator explained at the time.
However, as Breitbart notes, video footage appears to undermine that assertion, clearly showing no effort on the part of Bowman to use the door after engaging the alarm, pulling the mechanism and then rushing away from the area and reportedly hustling down a flight of stairs and out of the building via a different exit altogether.
🚨 NEW FOOTAGE: Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman removes warning signs before pulling the fire alarm in a House office building last month pic.twitter.com/dhwOQN2G6y
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 26, 2023
As the Associated Press noted, on Wednesday, Bowman was charged this week with a misdemeanor offense for having activated the fire alarm.
According to The Hill, the very next day after the charge was filed, the congressman pleaded guilty to the charge in D.C. Superior Court, having come to an agreement with prosecutors to resolve the case.
Under the terms of the deal, Bowmawn will pay a fine of $1,000 and submit a letter of apology to the Capitol Police.
Compliance with those terms will result in the charge being withdrawn at a court hearing slated to take place in late January of 2024.
Remarking on the situation, Bowman said, “I really regret that this caused so much confusion and that people had to evacuate, and I just caused a disturbance. I hate that. It's pretty embarrassing.”
In addition to embarassment, Bowman also faces the possibility of censure, given that a group of Republican colleagues on Wednesday filed a resolution seeking such an outcome.
Whether new House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) concurs with those asking for an ethics investigation into the matter remains to be seen, with Bowman seemingly resigned to the prospect, saying simply, “They have to do what they have to do.”
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