Republican lawmaker embarks on homophobic, racist rant in DUI traffic stop

Bodycam footage of Republican Nico Rios.

A North Dakota Republican has been recorded screaming homophobic and racist abuse during a DUI arrest.

State lawmaker Nico Rios of Williston was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, after being pulled over on 15 December by two police officers .

During the traffic stop, in which police questioned him about a failure to stay in his lane, Rios was captured on bodycam footage refusing to take a breathalyser test and subsequently unleashing a tirade of bigoted remarks towards the officers.

He was then immediately cuffed and escorted to the back of a police car, where he continued to hurl abuse at the two police officers.

According to the officers’ report, Rios was “verbally abusive, homophobic, racially abusive and discriminatory … for the entire duration of the incident following the road side testing”.

During the recording, Rios could be heard screaming: “You guys are going to regret picking on me because you don’t know who the f**k I am.”

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He then called one of the officers a “f**king f****t” and threatened to call North Dakota attorney general Drew Wrigley because the officers were “being an ass to me”.

“Your country is being overtaken by f**king migrants and refugees, right?” he asked, referencing one officer’s British accent. “You’re arresting me for driving home. But people come into your country and rape your women. And I’m the f**king bad guy?”

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Bizarrely, Rios continued: “I’m going to fight for the people of England more than you ever would, you little b***h.”

The Republican, who serves on a panel handling law enforcement legislation, was then arrested on drunk driving charges and refusing to provide a chemical test.

He is scheduled for a pretrial conference in court on 5 February 2024.

Nico Rios ‘deeply embarrassed’ by racist and homophobic tirade

In a statement delivered on Monday (18 December), Rios apologised to North Dakotans and the state GOP.

“No one ever wants to come to the people he represents and have to say they’re sorry. But, I want you to hear it from me first,” the Republican lawmaker said.

He explained that the incident occurred whilst coming home from a Christmas party and described himself as “deeply embarrassed” by his own behaviour.

Rios added that is actions did not hinder his ability to “represent and fight for the people of District 23”, seemingly signalling that he refuses to resign over the incident.

“Moving forward I will seek the appropriate help to make sure it never happens again,” he said. “I am not a saint, but may God give me the strength to someday become one.”

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In a statement to HuffPost, Republican House majority leader Mike Lefor said he had not seen the video but had “heard enough about it”.

Lefor did not comment on whether the GOP would ask Nico Rios to resign but said he was “looking at the options that are in front of me”.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

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