Lawmaker Goes on Racist, Homophobic Rant During DUI Arrest

WILLISTON, North Dakota – A North Dakota lawmaker was arrested for driving under the influence and making racist and homophobic remarks during his arrest on Friday following a Christmas party. Representative Nico Rios, a Republican from Williston, was charged with DUI and refusing to provide a chemical test, according to police.

The Bismarck Tribune obtained an arrest record that stated Rios became verbally abusive, making discriminatory and abusive comments toward law enforcement officers when he was pulled over for failing to keep TO his lane. The arrest was captured on bodycam footage, where Rios can be seen trying to pass off his business card instead of providing his license and registration.

During the field sobriety test, Rios refused to take a breathalyzer test and threatened the officers, saying, “You guys are going to regret picking on me because you don’t know who I am.” He also made derogatory remarks, including homophobic slurs towards the officers.

Rios was placed under arrest and read his rights, after which he asked the officers if there was any way he could drive his truck home and leave it there. When informed he was going to jail, Rios directed a homophobic slur toward one of the officers and demanded his phone to call the North Dakota Attorney General.

The lawmaker then turned his offensive remarks towards Officer Alexander Welch, making derogatory comments about his accent and stating that “people from England should not be arresting Americans.” Rios also made inflammatory remarks about the refugee crisis in England.

Since the release of the bodycam footage, Rios has issued an apology for his behavior, stating that he had consumed alcohol at the Christmas party and made a mistake by driving home under the influence. He expressed deep embarrassment and regret for his actions and promised to seek appropriate help to ensure it would never happen again.

The North Dakota Democrat-NPL Party has called for Rios to resign, stating that public servants should step down when they bring disgrace upon themselves. The State Republican Party also condemned Rios’ actions, emphasizing that they do not align with the values of the party.

Rios is scheduled for a pretrial conference on February 5th. Both charges he faces are misdemeanors under state law, and he has also been cited for having an open container of alcohol in his truck.