House Republicans have begun putting pressure on the U.S. Capitol Police to release all security footage from the moment when Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) pulled the fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building while a vote to avoid a government shutdown was occurring.
It has been alleged that Bowman’s stunt was an effort to delay the vote and cause a government shutdown — though the Democrat congressman has claimed that he only pulled the fire alarm because he thought it would open a nearby door. Bowman complained about the backlash to his actions — telling reporters that he didn’t understand “why this has gotten so much attention” because he was “literally just in a rush to go vote.”
🚨Jesse Watters DEMANDS Capitol Police release security footage of Democrat insurrectionist "Fire Marshall" Jamaal Bowman pulling Capitol fire alarm to delay vote pic.twitter.com/aPmTjAk4HD
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 3, 2023
Bowman’s office also released a list of talking points about the incident to his Democrat colleagues, which attacked critics as “Nazi” Republicans. He later condemned the use of “Nazi” in his statement, despite having a history of using that term to refer to his political opponents.
After the incident, Capitol Police released a single, blurry photo of the moment Bowman pulled the fire alarm — but House Republicans say that this is not enough.
BREAKING: Capitol police release photo of Jamaal Bowman pulling the fire alarm. pic.twitter.com/XpUoEu9lU4
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) September 30, 2023
In a letter to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger on Wednesday, four House Republicans demanded that more evidence be released so that Congress and the American people can better understand what happened. The letter was sent by Reps. Barry Moore (R-AL), Troy Nehls (R-TX), Dan Bishop (R-NC) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
“In the spirit of transparency, we ask that the security footage of the incident be released in its entirety,” the lawmakers wrote, adding: “One photograph is not enough to determine the severity of this situation. The American people deserve to know the extent of Congressman Bowman’s conduct.”
The American people deserve to know the extent of Rep. Jamaal Bowman's conduct. Thank you to my colleagues @RepTroyNehls, @RepDanBishop and @RepBoebert who joined me in requesting the Capitol Police release the full video footage of the incident. pic.twitter.com/9BNr2MKWXm
— Rep. Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) October 4, 2023
The Republican lawmakers went on to accuse Bowman of two crimes — arguing that he violated one District of Columbia statute and one federal statute.
The D.C. statute, DC §22-1319(a), states: “It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to willfully or knowingly give a false alarm of fire within the District of Columbia.”
The federal statute, 18 US Code §15051505, reads: “Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress—Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years.”
The Republicans then demanded that the Capitol Police make the full security footage of the incident available by October 6.
Meanwhile, the Capitol Police’s last update about the incident came on Monday — with a statement simply confirming that the agency “continues to investigate the facts and circumstances” of Bowman’s stunt. However, they failed to identify Bowman as the culprit in their statement — instead just noting that “a man” had pulled the fire alarm.