Video of Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) setting off a fire alarm at the Capitol late last month was published for the first time Thursday, shortly after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge over his action.
The video, first obtained by news station NY1, shows Bowman approaching a set of blocked doors in the Cannon House Office Building, taking off the doors’ warning signs — which note that an alarm will go off if the doors are opened — and then pulling a fire alarm adjacent to the door.
Bowman had said he was rushing to the House floor to vote on keeping the government open when he pulled the alarm in confusion, attempting to exit the doors. He was charged with a misdemeanor this week and pleaded guilty early Thursday.
According to an agreement with the D.C. attorney general, the charge will be dropped in three months after the congressman pays a $1,000 fine, his office said.
“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.”
Republicans accused Bowman of attempting to delay House votes amid a rush to fund the government hours before it was set to shut down. Bowman vehemently denied those claims.
House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) said he would launch an investigation into Bowman’s conduct. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) introduced a resolution to expel Bowman from the House over the incident, and others have said he should resign.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) defended Bowman on Thursday, saying he shouldn’t be forced out of the House or censured over the incident.
“Not in my view,” Jeffries responded at a press conference when asked whether Bowman should be censured, accusing Republicans of hypocrisy.
“[M]any of these lawmakers on the other side of the aisle who had their hair on fire about what appears to have been an inadvertent action taken by Congressman Bowman, to which he is now being held accountable for, within the criminal justice system, regularly defend violent individuals who overran the Capitol on Jan. 6, as part of an effort to halt a peaceful transfer of power,” he said.
Filip Timotija contributed.