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North Dakota Republicans Call on Homophobic State Rep to Resign After DUI Arrest

Nico Rios Arrest Bodycam Footage
Williston Police Department via The Bismarck Tribune

Video showed Nico Rios disparaging migrants and suggesting one officer had sexual relations with his mother.

The senior leadership of the North Dakota Republican Party is calling for the resignation of embattled Republican State Rep. Nico Rios of Williston, who was captured on video making offensive and homophobic remarks during a DUI arrest earlier this month.

Rios was arrested and issued a citation for a DUI, DUI refusal, and driving with an open container, according to the Williston Police Department’s report of the incident. He was pulled over around 11:30 p.m. on December 15 for swerving, and officers reported he exhibited slurred speech and failed a sobriety test.

“You guys are going to regret picking on me because you don’t know who the f*ck I am,” Rios told the arresting officers.

Rios used “verbally abusive, homophobic, racially abusive and discriminatory” according to the police report of the incident. He called one officer a “f*ck*ng coward” and also used a profane slur suggesting the officer had engaged in sexual relations with his mother.

“Your country is being taken over by f*ck*ng migrants and refugees,” Rios said from the backseat of the police cruiser. “You’re arresting me for driving home, and people are coming to your country and raping your women.”

Rios later issued a public apology on X (formerly Twitter), saying he was “deeply sorry and regretful” for his actions. He wrote he “had a few too many drinks at a Christmas party” and made a mistake by driving home while under the influence.

Rios also said he would not let his arrest “hinder” his ability to represent his constituents, but two senior Republican leaders in the state disagreed and called on Rios to resign.

Republican House Majority Leader Mike Lefor of Dickinson called on Rios to step down yesterday.

“I am extremely disappointed in Rep. Rios’ actions. After discussions with House leadership and the state Republican Party, I have asked for his resignation,” Lefor said in a statement. “There is no room in the legislature, or our party, for this behavior. 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.”

North Dakota GOP Chairwoman Sandra Sanford supported Lefor’s request.

“Rep. Rios’ actions and words fall short of the basic decency we expect from any of our neighbors,” Sanders said in a statement. “He endangered the community he was elected to serve and disrespected peace officers. This violates our core values as Republicans. I support the House Leader’s decision to call for his resignation.”

Rios has not yet indicated if he will resign.

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