Multiple North Dakota Republicans are calling on a state lawmaker to resign after reports surfaced that he made disturbing and racist comments to a police officer during a DUI stop this month.
State Rep. Nico Rios (R) was pulled over on Dec. 15 for not staying in his lane and was arrested for drunk driving charges.
Police body camera footage obtained by the AP showed Rios cursing at the office, questioning his English accent and using homophobic slurs and anti-migrant language. He also reportedly said he would call the North Dakota attorney general about the incident and noted the officers would “regret picking on me because you don’t know who…I am.”
On Tuesday, Republican House Majority Leader Mike Lefor pointed to the police officer’s report, which stated the lawmaker was “verbally abusive, homophobic, racially abusive and discriminatory,” towards the officer while asking him to resign.
“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,” Lefor said in a statement, according to the AP.
North Dakota Republican Party Chairwoman Sandi Sanford reiterated Lefor’s comments, saying Rios’s “actions and words fall short of the basic decency we expect from any of our neighbors. He endangered the community he was elected to serve and disrespected peace officers. This violates our core values as Republicans.”
Rios earlier this week said his behavior was unacceptable, apologized and pledged “to make sure this never happens again.”
“I owe it to myself, my district, and everyone and I vow to make sure this never happens again,” he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “Moving forward after this night I feel like I have to emphasize my complete and total commitment to supporting Law Enforcement. I messed up big time and I am truly sorry.”