Republican leaders in North Dakota are calling for the resignation of state Rep. Nico Rios (R) after he was caught shouting slurs at police officers during a traffic stop for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).
Bodycam footage from the December 15, 2023 traffic stop shows Rios yelling anti-immigrant and homophobic profanities at Williston, North Dakota police officers. He questioned an officer’s accent during the stop and said that he would call the state attorney general about the traffic stop.
“You guys are going to regret picking on me because you don’t know who the f*ck I am,” he said. “You’re arresting me for driving home, and people are coming to your country and raping your women.” He called another officer a “f*cking coward.”
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Rios was charged with misdemeanor counts of drunk driving and refusing to provide a chemical test. In a statement last week, Rios said that his behavior was unacceptable and apologized, saying he will “make sure this never happens again,” that he had “a few too many drinks at a Christmas party, and that he will get “appropriate help.”
Still, state Republican leaders are calling for him to resign, and they seem more bothered by the fact that he spoke abusively to police officers than by his anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-immigrant comments.
“The language and slurs that Rep. Rios chose to use disrespected and belittled officers during his violation and are not consistent with our beliefs and party platform,” read a Facebook statement from the North Dakota District 23 GOP Executive Committee, which added that the committee had “lost confidence” in Rios and requested his resignation.
North Dakota House Majority Leader Mike Lefor (R) also called on Rios to resign.
“There is no room in the legislature, or our party, for this behavior,” he said in a statement. “I understand people make mistakes, but his comments and defiance to law enforcement are beyond the pale. In addition, any lawmaker attempting to use his or her elected position to threaten anyone or skirt the law is completely unacceptable.”
“Rep. Rios’ actions and words fall short of the basic decency we expect from any of our neighbors,” said North Dakota Republican Party Chairwoman Sandi Sanford. “He endangered the community he was elected to serve and disrespected peace officers. This violates our core values as Republicans.”
Republicans control the North Dakota House with an 82-12 majority, so they will still have an overwhelming majority of seats even if Rios resigns.