Written by: Ismael Barrios
Bismarck, North Dakota - Republican House Majority Leader Mike Lefor has publicly called on North Dakota state Representative Nico Rios to resign following a DUI arrest. The incident has sparked a wave of political fallout, with party leaders condemning Rios' behavior and raising questions about his political future.
Call for Resignation:
The call for resignation comes after a police report detailed Rios' alleged "verbally abusive, homophobic, racially abusive and discriminatory" behavior during the DUI arrest on December 15, 2023. Rios was accused of attempting to use his position as a lawmaker to intimidate police and evade arrest.
Party Leaders' Statements:
Lefor emphasized that there is "no room in the legislature, or our party" for Rios' behavior, highlighting a commitment to maintaining core party values and decency. North Dakota Republican Party Chairwoman Sandi Sanford echoed this sentiment, expressing disappointment in Rios' conduct toward law enforcement.
The public calls for resignation underscore the potential political fallout for Rios, drawing criticism for endangering the community, disrespecting law enforcement, and violating party values. The incident prompts reflection on Rios' commitment to supporting law enforcement and the need for accountability within the Republican Party.
While Rios did not immediately respond to the call for resignation, a previous statement acknowledged his unacceptable behavior and expressed remorse. Rios apologized to those he hurt, particularly law enforcement officers, vowing not to repeat such "disgusting actions." He emphasized his commitment to breaking his chemical dependency on alcohol and seeking help for alcoholism, mentioning undergoing treatment for the same.
Police Body Camera Footage:
Footage from police body cameras revealed Rios using homophobic slurs, anti-migrant language, and challenging the police officer's English accent during the traffic stop. Rios threatened to call the North Dakota attorney general and claimed officers would "regret picking on" him.
Legal Charges and Court Dates:
Rios, pulled over on December 15, 2023, is facing charges of misdemeanor drunken driving, refusing to provide a chemical test, and possessing an open container. His next court date is scheduled for January 4th, followed by a pretrial conference on February 5, 2024, in municipal court.
Elected in 2022, Rios was elected unopposed to a four-year term in the state House of Representatives. He currently sits on the House Judiciary Committee, handling law enforcement legislation, and works in an oil field position related to hydraulic fracturing.
Rios' Future Considerations:
Rios, stating that he is "seriously mulling all aspects" of his legislative future, intends to make future decisions with a sober mind and deliberative clarity. He expressed a commitment to addressing alcoholism, improving strained relations, and listening to the community, reaffirming his dedication to repairing the consequences of his actions and turning his life around.
Rios' decision not to immediately resign raises questions about his political future despite the backlash from party leaders. Statements from both Rios and party leaders emphasize the need for accountability, decency, and adherence to core values as a whole.
Breaking Through News will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as they unfold.