US Rep Bowman charged with pulling fire alarm at Capitol

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Biden visits SUNY Westchester Community College Valhalla in Valhalla, New York

(Reuters) - Democratic U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman was charged on Wednesday with falsely pulling a fire alarm in the Capitol earlier this month, prompting evacuation of a congressional office building as his party was trying to delay a key vote.

Bowman, a former teacher who represents a district covering part of New York City and Westchester County, was charged with a single count of false fire alarm, documents in District of Columbia Superior Court showed.

A spokesman for Bowman said he would issue a statement later on Wednesday.

Bowman, 47, has previously admitted to pulling the fire alarm, mistakenly thinking it would open a door to the Cannon House Building.

He has disputed accusations by Republicans that he was attempting to delay House members from voting on a bipartisan bill to keep the government open for 45 days and avoid a shutdown.

The bill ultimately passed with near-unanimous Democratic support but, at the moment, Democrats were scrambling to buy time to read the bill, which Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had just unveiled.

The Cannon House Building was ultimately evacuated for about 90 minutes. Some House Republicans have called for Bowman to resign following the incident.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)