An Oklahoma City police captain accused of drunk driving told another officer to turn his body camera off so they could 'talk' before he was arrested, video shows

·3 min read
Oklahoma City Police Department Captain James "Matt" French.
Oklahoma City Police Department Captain James "Matt" French captured on body camera footage during his arrest.Oklahoma City Police Department
  • An Oklahoma City Police captain asked a fellow officer to turn off his body camera during his DUI arrest.

  • Capt. James "Matt" French, a 32-year veteran, was arrested on a DUI charge over the weekend.

  • "Will you please talk to me? You can turn it off and turn it on," French asked, body camera footage shows.

A veteran Oklahoma City Police Department captain accused of drunk driving repeatedly asked a fellow officer to turn off his body camera so that they could "talk" before he was arrested, video of the incident shows.

Capt. James "Matt" French was arrested on a DUI charge after Sergeant Chris Skinner of the Oklahoma City Police Department pulled French over for "swerving" and driving at a "high rate of speed" early Sunday morning, authorities said.

Body camera footage released this week by the department shows French with his hands up outside his unmarked, city-assigned SUV in the driveway of a home where he said he lived. Skinner approached him and told him to get back in the vehicle.

When French was asked whether he had been drinking, he responded: "I'm a captain of the police department" and whispered for Skinner to "turn the camera off," the footage shows.

 

"Turn the camera off, please," French pleaded after he was asked how much he had to drink.

Skinner told French, "I'm not turning my camera off," as he then directed him to step out of his vehicle. "You've gotta be kidding me," Skinner added.

During questioning, French admitted he had been at a poker game and that he had drank three or four beers, the video shows.

When Skinner asked French to do a sobriety test, French again asked, "Sir, can- can you turn that off?"

"I know you are aware of our body cam policy," the sergeant told French. "You know I cannot turn off this body cam."

French then said, "I do, but I'd like to talk to you."

"Will you please talk to me? You can turn it off and turn it on," French added. Sgt. Skinner refused.

French, a 32-year-old veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department, again told the officer that he was a captain.

"I understand that, and I am a sergeant," Skinner said. "I've taken an oath to uphold the law. I don't show favoritism to anyone regardless. I don't care if you are a gangbanger or the president of the United States."

French was later put in handcuffs and arrested.

Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley praised Skinner for his actions during a press conference, saying that he "did exactly as he should have, and handled it very professionally in my opinion."

"I'm proud of the way that our officers dealt with it at the scene," Gourley said. "I hate that we're in this position. I hate it for Captain French. I hate it for our organization."

Gourley said that the department will launch an administrative investigation into the matter following the criminal investigation. The department put French on administrative leave with pay after his arrest.

French did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider on Friday.

Read the original article on Insider