The New Jersey gym owner who made national headlines for defying the state’s COVID-19 restrictions and is now running for Congress made sure to tell cops he was a candidate when he was arrested for drunk driving, footage shows.
Ian Smith, who risked jail time to keep his Atilis Gym in Bellmawr open throughout the pandemic, was arrested in Cinnaminson in the early hours of March 27 – 15 years after he killed a teenager in a drunken accident.
“You know I’m running for Congress for this district, right?” Smith said to the officer who arrested him while he was handcuffed to the back of a cruiser, according to dash cam and body camera footage obtained by NJ.com.
Footage shows Smith’s truck driving in and out of its lane on Route 130, nearly hitting another vehicle at one point before the officer stopped it.
Smith told the officer he had only had one margarita at a local taco restaurant, the video shows. He said the suspension of his trunk makes him difficult to control. After several sobriety tests, Smith said the margarita had been a double, according to the video.
He refused to take a breathalyzer and was charged with driving under the influence, as well as careless and reckless driving. He is due in court on April 14.
Smith and his campaign, however, denied he was drunk and said he refused the breath test because of his distrust of the government.
“I got arrested, took a sobriety test (in poor conditions) and got arrested,” Smith insisted in an Instagram post last week. “My choice not to submit to a breathalyzer test reflects my mistrust after 2 years of persecution.”
He was hit with large daily fines and multi-million legal fees for keeping his gym open.
The video shows officers administering eye tracking tests and balance tests to Smith in a parking lot near the freeway. After being handcuffed, he told officers he believed he had passed all the tests despite the windy conditions.
“Standing here on a windy highway, I failed the test you just gave me? You put me through balance tests, which I did,” Smith says in the video.
Once in the backseat of the patrol car, an officer remarks to Smith “how poor your driving was, how poor your test was”.
Smith then seems to wonder if his arrest was some kind of set-up.
“You weren’t paid to do this?” Smith asks the officer en route to the station.
“I wasn’t paid to do what?” replies the officer. ” I do my job. I don’t know what you mean. Get paid to do what? »
After a moment of silence, Smith then talks about his campaign. “You know I’m a congressional candidate in this district, right, and there’s a (inaudible) on me,” Smith said.
Smith is challenging two-term Democratic Rep. Andy Kim, a former Obama White House staffer.
He was candid about his 2007 drunk driving accident that killed 19-year-old student Kevin Ade.
“It’s something I accept full responsibility for,” he said in a video confessional in May 2020 of the accident while a 20-year-old student.
New York Post