Charges Dropped Against Gold Star Dad Arrested for Interrupting Biden’s State of the Union

Katabella Roberts
By Katabella Roberts
March 20, 2024US News
Charges Dropped Against Gold Star Dad Arrested for Interrupting Biden’s State of the Union
Steve Nikoui, the father of the late Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, shouts at President Joe Biden as he delivers his third State of the Union address in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 7, 2024. (Shawn Thew/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Charges have reportedly been dropped against Steve Nikoui, the father of the late Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, after he was arrested for interrupting President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address earlier this month.

House Speaker Mike Johnson confirmed the charges against Mr. Nikoui have been dropped, according to Fox News.

The office of Brian Schwalb, the Democratic Attorney General in Washington, also told the publication it had opted not to pursue charges against Mr. Nikoui.

The Epoch Times has contacted Attorney General Schwalb’s office for further comment.

Mr. Nikoui’s 20-year-old son Kareem was among 13 U.S. service members killed when an ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated explosives near Abbey Gate terminal at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 26, 2021.

His death occurred during a chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Years later, on March 8, the 51-year-old father had been attending the State of the Union as a guest of Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) and was seated on the balcony of the House chamber when he interrupted President Biden’s speech by yelling “Abbey Gate!” and “United States Marines,” referencing his son’s tragic death.

Gold Star Dad Charged

According to the D.C. Code, “it is unlawful for a person, alone or in concert with others, to engage in a demonstration in an area where it is otherwise unlawful to demonstrate and to continue or resume engaging in a demonstration after being instructed by a law enforcement officer to cease engaging in a demonstration.”

Following his comments, Mr. Nikoui was removed from the chamber and arrested by Capitol Police.

He was subsequently arrested and charged earlier this month with misdemeanor protest of crowding, obstructing, or incommoding Congress after violating D.C. Code, Capitol Police confirmed.

Speaking to a week after his arrest, Mr. Nikoui said he felt compelled to stand up and disrupt President Biden’s speech after he failed to mention the names of the soldiers killed near Abbey Gate.

“He knew that there were other Gold Star family members, he could of at least just said their names and this would have been done,” the father said of the U.S. leader.

NTD Photo
A heckler, identified as Steve Nikoui, the father of the late Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, yells out as President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 7, 2024. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

‘Total Disrespect’

President Biden’s failure to acknowledge those killed in the Kabul bombing was “just total disrespect to us,” Mr. Nikoui said of himself and the other parents of the soldiers who lost their lives during the explosion.

“I’ve waited three years, I paid $3,000 … and I’ve traveled 3,000 miles just to finally hear my son’s name in the State of the Union,” he added.

Multiple Republican lawmakers, including Mr. Mast—who is himself a military veteran— and Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) had urged officials to drop the charges against Mr. Nikoui following his arrest.

“No father should have to bury his son, yet my State of the Union guest Steve Nikoui had to bury 2 because of Joe Biden’s failures,” Mr. Mast wrote on the social media platform X on March 12. “To add insult to injury, Steve was ARRESTED for protesting Biden’s REFUSAL to even acknowledge his son. Biden’s America is dystopian.”

Both Mr. Waltz and Mr. Issa welcomed the news that charges were being dropped against the Gold Star father in separate statements on X, formerly Twitter, with Mr. Waltz calling it “great news” but condemning the fact he was charged in the first place.

“He did nothing wrong. And this is the right decision,” Rep. Issa said of the charges being dropped against Mr. Nikoui. “What we need is a lot more media coverage of the Gold Star families from Afghanistan and the accountability they deserve.”

Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report. 

From The Epoch Times

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