The Footage of Jamaal Bowman Pulling a Fire Alarm Changes Everything

AP Photo/John Minchillo

On Wednesday, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) was charged with pulling the fire alarm in the Cannon House office building in an attempt to postpone an 11th-hour vote to avert a government shutdown. Bowman also told Fox News that he already had a plea agreement with prosecutors that would require him to pay a $1,000 fine and “stay out of trouble for three months,” instead of potentially facing six months in prison.

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In other words, he’s getting a slap on the wrist.

On Thursday, surveillance footage was released showing Bowman pulling the alarm, and it appears to contradict Bowman’s public statements about the circumstances surrounding the incident. Bowman claimed multiple times that he was “trying urgently to get to a vote,” however, the video shows that Bowman was not rushing to the double doors as someone urgently trying to go vote might be doing. But it gets worse.

There was signage on the doors reading: “EMERGENCY EXIT ONLY. PUSH UNTIL ALARM SOUNDS (3 SECONDS). DOOR WILL UNLOCK IN 30 SECONDS.”

The surveillance footage shows Bowman approaching the doors rather calmly, then taking the sign off the right door, looking back down the hallway while knocking off the sign from the left door to the floor before pulling the alarm and walking away with the first sign in his hand. It doesn’t even appear from the footage that Bowman even attempted to open the doors at any time.

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However, according to the arrest warrant, a review of the security showed that Bowman “approached the exit door” and “proceeded to push the right-side exit door’s push bar while grabbing the sign on it. When the right-side door did not open, the defendant then pushed the left-side door push bar, but that door did not open either. The defendant then turned to his left, looked at the emergency fire alarm pull station, and upon seeing it, he reached out and pulled the fire alarm down. Immediately afterwards, the defendant turned to his left, away from the exit doors. The defendant walked away from those doors without looking back at them or trying to push them open.”

For our VIPs: All The Evidence You Need That Rep. Bowman Did Not ‘Accidentally’ Pull the Fire Alarm

While this account acknowledges that Bowman grabbed the sign on the door, it didn’t acknowledge that he took the sign with him or that he knocked the other sign to the floor. These are important details, and their absence from the arrest warrant is, to say the least, suspicious and seems like a pretext for him to be able to enter a plea agreement with virtually no punishment at all. Bowman seems to be entirely aware of what he’s doing, making no effort to appear as if he was actually trying to exit the building but instead seemingly trying to make sure no one was watching him.

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Technically, Bowman could still be charged under federal law for violating 18 U.S. Code 1512(c), which states that “Whoever corruptly … obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

I wouldn’t count on the Biden administration pursuing federal charges against him, even though it’s quite clear that Bowman acted with intent and likely thought that stealing a sign would potentially help his alibi. Has the sign been recovered? Did Capitol Police even ask him about it? Were they trying to cover up the truth so Bowman wouldn’t be held accountable for trying to delay the vote?

This story just got a whole lot worse.

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