No, video doesn’t show Jamaal Bowman arguing after pulling the fire alarm at U.S. Capitol

By: Praveen Kumar
October 6 2023

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No, video doesn’t show Jamaal Bowman arguing after pulling the fire alarm at U.S. Capitol

A video from March 2023 showing House Representatives Jamaal Bowman and Thomas Massie arguing about gun violence is being shared as the former arguing after pulling the fire alarm at the U.S. Capitol building on September 30. (Source: X/Facebook/Screenshots)


The Verdict False

A video from March of Bowman arguing with a Congressman over gun violence has been wrongly linked to the September 30 incident from the U.S. Capitol.

Claim ID ab4ef13a

U.S. Democratic House Representative Jamaal Bowman of New York made headlines on September 30 after he pulled the fire alarm at the Cannon House Office Building in the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. The incident occurred moments before a House vote on the stop-gap spending bill to keep the government open. After the incident, Bowman issued a statement, claiming that he had accidentally pulled the alarm. The Republicans had accused Bowman of trying to delay the vote by pulling the alarm, which prompted an evacuation of the entire building.

What is the claim?

Following the incident, social media users shared a 45-second-long video showing Bowman engaging in a heated argument with Republican House Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, with captions claiming that it showed the Democrat involved in an argument after pulling the fire alarm. “Democrat Congressman Jamaal Bowman isn’t ready to face the music after pulling the fire alarm,” posts said.

One such post sharing the video on platform X (formerly Twitter) garnered over 1.8 million views at the time of publishing. The video was also shared on Facebook with the same narrative. The archived posts can be found here, here, here, and here.

The video and the claim were shared across Facebook and X. (Source: Facebook/X/Screenshots)

However, the video of the argument predates the recent incident where Bowman ‘mistakenly’ pulled the fire alarm.

What did we find?

We found that the viral video is from March. The argument was filmed from several angles outside the House chamber and was posted on X by ABC News journalist Lalee Ibssa and can be seen in an NBC News video report. According to a report by ABC News, Bowman had come off the floor of the House and begun telling reporters to press Republicans on their views on gun violence. Ibsa’s X post carries a video of Bowman loudly advocating his views. Another video posted in the same thread carries a longer version of the clip of the altercation that Bowman then enters into with Massie.

We found the exact match for the viral video in a CNN video report uploaded to YouTube on March 30, titled, “See heated gun control discussion between lawmakers in the halls of Congress.” The video description reads, “Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) had a tense exchange over gun control legislation following the deadly school shooting in Nashville.” The CNN report added that the heated argument followed the Nashville shooting on March 27 at The Covenant School, a Presbyterian school. Audrey Elizabeth Hale, the 28-year-old shooter, carried two assault weapons and a handgun.

In the videos, Bowman, a former principal, says Republicans had control of the House and weren’t doing anything to protect children. Meanwhile, Massie advocated for teachers to be able to carry weapons to protect children in schools.

The fire-alarm pulling incident

After the September 30 incident, Bowman apologized and said that he was embarrassed to admit that he had activated the fire alarm when he encountered a door while rushing to make the vote, “mistakenly ​​thinking it would open the door.” 

While Republican leaders have reacted strongly to the incident, no reports indicate Bowman had an altercation with anyone about the fire alarm pulling.

According to reports, the House Administration Committee is also probing the incident. After the incident, Bowman met with both the Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police, as well as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. 

The verdict

An old video of Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman arguing with Republican Representative Thomas Massie is being used to incorrectly claim that it was captured in the aftermath of Bowman recently pulling the fire alarm at the Capitol building. Therefore, we have marked this claim false.

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