Oct. 25 (UPI) -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman said Wednesday he was responsible for pulling a fire alarm in a congressional office building during a key House vote in late September and plans to pay a fine in court.
Bowman, of New York, will appear in court at 9:30 a.m. Thursday where he is expected to plead guilty to one count of willfully and knowingly pulling a false fire alarm. The misdemeanor carries a $1,000 maximum fine. Bowman will also formally apologize 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."
The incident unfolded on Sept. 30 in the Cannon House Office Building as Republican lawmakers were kicking off a vote on a stopgap spending bill in advance of a government shutdown. Bowman said he was rushing to leave the building when he pulled the alarm accidentally when trying to open a door. The building was evacuated as Capitol Police investigated and later determined there was no threat.
Republicans said Bowman was trying to delay the vote to give Democrats more time to read the GOP bill. House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wis., said, "Bowman's excuse does not pass the sniff test." He added Bowman "fled the scene" after pulling the alarm and never alerted Capitol Police to his mistake.
Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Mich., said she plans to introduce a resolution to censure Bowman and have him removed from all committee assignments.