GOP lawmaker fined $1000 after he spewed homophobic insults at a cop

Author: Alex Bollinger

North Dakota state Rep. Nico Rios (R) has pled guilty to drunken driving in connection to a December 15, 2023 incident where he was pulled over and then shouted anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-immigrant insults at police officers.

He was also charged with refusing a chemical test, but that charge was dismissed. He has to pay a $50 fine for having an open container as well.

“It does not appear that he was treated more harshly than other people in similar situations,” attorney Mark Friese told the AP. “My guess is that the judge recognizes… there are multiple entities here that are going to hold Mr. Rios to account.”

Bodycam footage from the December 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.”

In a statement earlier this month, 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.”

State Republican leaders called 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.”

Lefor removed Rios from the legislature’s interim Judiciary Committee because, Lefor explained, he didn’t want to have law enforcement officers testify in front of Rios after how he spoke to officers.

Rios has not said that he has any plans to resign, but he apologizes for his “disgusting actions.”

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.

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Alex Bollinger

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