New York Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman pled guilty to a single misdemeanor Thursday after he appeared to obstruct a federal proceeding by pulling a fire alarm in a Capitol office building. The disruption forced the occupants to evacuate for 90 minutes as lawmakers scrambled to avoid a government shutdown in September.
Bowman, a far-left “squad” member who smeared demonstrators at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as “violent insurrectionists” whose “terrorist attack” warranted a federal crackdown, will pay a $1,000 fine and serve three months of probation. The fire alarm charge will then be “dismissed from his record under an agreement with prosecutors,” according to the Associated Press.
The two-term lawmaker claimed to reporters on Capitol Hill that he was “in a rush” and pulled the fire alarm after assuming the alert system that says “FIRE” on it would unlock the door.
“I tried the door, it didn’t work so I pulled the alarm thinking it would open. That didn’t work, so I went downstairs,” Bowman said. “It was a dumb choice, but you know, it is what it is.”
The alarm forced the Cannon House office building to evacuate as Democrats were trying to delay the vote.
“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,” Bowman said following his plea.
Ginny Gentles, the director of the Education Freedom Center at the Independent Women’s Forum, pointed out on X that Bowman worked in schools before becoming a member of Congress.
“He’s from a state that requires TWELVE fire drills per school year,” Gentles wrote. “The man knows exactly how fire alarms work.”
In 2021, Bowman proposed legislation to “establish a national commission to investigate the terrorist attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6” and “investigate ties between members of U.S. Capitol Police and white supremacist movements.”
“How does it happen that a group of armed, violent insurrectionists are able to march into one of the most secure buildings on Earth and force members of Congress to hide under their desks?” Bowman said, proposing the bill two days after the demonstrations.
Bowman’s assessment of the rioters who showed up to the Capitol to protest the rigged 2020 election stands in stark contrast to his approach to the repeat protests-turned-riots from Black Lives Matter activists throughout the year prior. While campaigning for his first term several months prior, Bowman was defending the Black Lives Matter anti-police protests.
“I am Black Lives Matter,” Bowman said that fall.
The violent BLM riots that year ultimately cost upwards of $2 billion in damage, or, 66 times the estimated damage from the Capitol riot.
In a June 2020 interview with Mehdi Hasan for The Intercept, Bowman called the deadly demonstrations over George Floyd’s death “the American way.”
“The foundation of America was protesting oppression from a foreign government, which was England,” Bowman said. “American history is rooted in protesting and standing up to a government that’s not meeting our needs and pushing elected officials to do the right thing.”