Charges Dropped Against Gold Star Father Who Shouted At Biden During SOTU Address
A demonstrator shouts as US President Joe Biden, not pictured, speaks during a State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, March 7, 2024. Election-year politics will increase the focus on Biden's remarks and lawmakers' reactions, as he's stumping to the nation just months before voters will decide control of the House, Senate, and White House.
Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Brian Schwalb dropped charges against Steve Nikoui, a Gold Star father who was arrested for disrupting President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address, after a significant backlash, Fox News reported Tuesday.

Both the Speaker’s Office and the D.C. AG’s office confirmed to Fox News that the charges had been dropped. The AG’s office told the outlet that its decision to not move forward with the charges was typical when dealing with protesters.

Nikoui was detained after he shouted “Abbey Gate! Kareem Nikoui! Second Battalion, First Marines!” as Biden spoke about murder rates in his annual address. Authorities led Nikoui from the chamber and charged him with a misdemeanor for “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” during a protest — a charge that carries a fine of up to $500 and 90 days in prison.

Nikoui’s son Kareem was one of 13 members of the U.S. military killed in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport during the Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. At least 170 civilians were also killed in that attack.

“I don’t think I disrespected anyone,” Nikoui said in an interview with Morning Wire. “I don’t think I dishonored my son.”

Nikoui blames the Biden administration for his son’s death, explaining that, “They were told to leave 2,500 troops there. 2,000 troops could have manned Bagram and then 500 extra to help. And that was in place in the agreement. But [Biden] took it to something like 136 troops. If they would have followed Trump’s agreement, my son would be alive.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger on Monday arguing that the charges against him should be dropped.

“Mr. Nikoui’s arrest for emotionally expressing his grief and seeking acknowledgment for his son’s sacrifice during the State of the Union – where he called out, ‘Abbey Gate! Kareem Nikoui! Second Battalion, First Marines!’ – highlighted a profound disconnect between the sacrifices made by our service members and the recognition they deserve,” Issa said.


“Though he interrupted the event, what Mr. Nikoui voiced out loud was a cry for the acknowledgment of the loss endured by the families of the 13 who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” he added.

Daniel Chaitin contributed to this report.

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