Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York was arrested outside of the U.S. Capitol building after disobeying orders from Capitol Police on three different occasions, the law enforcement agency said.
Capitol Police arrested Bowman on Thursday after the New York Democrat protested outside Congress in support of his party's failed election reform package. Bowman and a handful of other activists blocked a Capitol barricade and refused to move after police gave them three warnings, the department said in a statement.
Bowman was one of 27 arrested for violating both Capitol Police regulations and District of Columbia law barring crowds from obstructing a passageway after being ordered to disburse by police, a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in prison.
We made a total of 27 arrests for Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding (DC Code § 22–1307), and one for violating U.S. Capitol Police Traffic Regulation Section 16.3 (Crowd Control).
The demonstration activity is all clear.
— U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) January 20, 2022
Bowman's failure to follow Capitol Police instructions comes roughly a year after the Democrat assailed Republicans who "disregard Capitol security," which he called "bullshit." Democrats have attacked Republicans relentlessly for their unwillingness to participate in the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 riots, in which conservative protesters clashed with Capitol Police.
Despite his past rhetoric, Bowman defended his actions, saying he was ready to do the same thing "again and again and again."
"Yesterday, I was arrested alongside over 20 people, including youth hunger striking for our democracy. And I will do it again and again and again," Bowman said in a statement. "I will keep doing everything in my power to bring attention to the crisis we are in and ensure our democracy functions in a manner that represents the people."
Hours before Bowman's arrest, Democrats' election reform legislation suffered a stinging defeat in the Senate. A bipartisan group of members blocked an effort to change the upper chamber's filibuster rules in order to force through the bills, which would mandate a nationwide system of no-excuse, mail-in voting and restore full voting rights to released felons. While 80 percent of Americans support requiring identification to vote, the bills would also weaken voter ID rules at the state level.
Bowman and his liberal allies have launched increasingly aggressive attacks at fellow Democrats for failing to pass the controversial package. On Jan. 13, Bowman called Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) a "traitor" to "our democracy" for refusing to vote to scrap the filibuster and pass the bills. Fellow New York Democrat Mondaire Jones took the attacks to another level, labeling both Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) "white nationalists" for voting to keep the filibuster in place.
Bowman was first elected in 2020 after he won a Democratic primary against longtime congressman Elliot Engel, who Bowman viewed as too moderate for the New York City district. Bowman has joined ranks with fellow New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left members of the Democratic Congress known as "The Squad."