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Rep. Jamaal Bowman pleads guilty to misdemeanor for pulling fire alarm in House office building

Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman pleads guilty to triggering a fire alarm, pays fine and serves probation, but Republicans criticize him.

Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count after triggering a fire alarm in a House office building. In an effort to pass a funding bill before a government shutdown deadline, lawmakers were thrown into chaos as they evacuated the building for over an hour on September 30. Bowman admitted to pulling the alarm, but claimed it was a mistake as he tried to open a locked door in a hurry to reach the voting session. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Bowman will pay a $1,000 fine and serve three months of probation, after which the false fire alarm charge will be dismissed from his record.

Expressing his regret, Bowman acknowledged the confusion and disturbance caused by his actions, stating, "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." However, Republicans have criticized his explanation, dismissing it as an excuse. They highlighted the fact that Bowman passed several police officers without notifying them of his involvement in triggering the alarm. During the evacuation, House Democrats were attempting to delay a vote on a funding bill in order to review its contents, which had been released abruptly by Republicans to avoid a shutdown.

Bowman defended his decision not to inform officers, explaining that he was focused on making the vote, rather than delaying it. The case was filed by the District of Columbia attorney general's office, which emphasized that Bowman was treated like any other individual who violates the law. In addition to the fine and probation, Bowman will formally apologize to Capitol police as part of his plea deal. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 29, at which point the charge will be dropped upon the successful completion of his probation period.

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