Oklahoma City police captain arrested for DUI, asks officer to turn off bodycam
An Oklahoma City Police captain was arrested for driving under the influence while repeatedly asking the arresting officer to turn off his body camera during the investigation.
Capt. James “Matt” French, 55, was pulled over on Sunday morning after an officer saw the police veteran swerving and speeding in his unmarked, city-owned SUV, Fox 25 reported.
In body camera footage released by the Oklahoma City Police Department on Thursday, French is seen sitting in his vehicle in the driveway of the home he claims to live in with his mother.
As the officer approaches the SUV, he asks French if he’s been drinking, to which he replies, “I’m a captain on the police department,” before specifying he serves as a captain in Oklahoma City.
French then seemingly pointed to his chest and whispered to the officer to “turn the camera off.”
The officer ignored his initial request, asking French how much he had to drink.
French, not wanting to be recorded, made the same motion toward his chest, signaling to stop the bodycam footage.
“I’m not turning my camera off,” the officer says in disbelief at the request.
As the officer began his investigation, French said that he’d been playing poker and had “three or four” beers, with his last drink around midnight — nearly two hours after being pulled over.
When asked if it was wise for him to be driving, the captain replied, “No, but I came from four blocks [away].”
French is struggling to complete various field sobriety tests — unable to keep his balance — and asks — for the third time — that the officer “please” turn his camera off.
“I know you are aware of our bodycam policy,” the officer told French. “You know I cannot turn off this bodycam.”
“I do, but I’d like to talk to you,” French said.
The officer tells French — who relentlessly keeps asking for the body camera to be turned off — that he will turn it off following the conclusion of his investigation, with French reiterating that he is a Captain.
“I’m a sergeant and I’ve taken an oath to uphold the law. I don’t show favoritism to anyone regardless. I don’t care if you’re a gang banger or the President of the United States,” the officer said.
French was booked at the Oklahoma County Detention Center and has since been bonded out.
French is a 32-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Chief Wade Gourley of the Oklahoma City Police Department praised the arresting officer’s professionalism under the barrage of requests to turn his camera off, the outlet reported.
“The officer did exactly as he should have, and handled it very professionally in my opinion. As far as how the officer responded, he did exactly as he should have,” Gourley said.
The investigation into French’s arrest is ongoing, but Gourley said the captain had been placed on administrative leave.
“As soon as we were notified of the incident, he was placed on administrative leave with pay,” Gourley said according to Fox 25. “We do have a process that when criminal charges are filed, per our FOP contract, we do what is called a pre-determination hearing to then put that person on leave without pay, because again it’s a criminal matter. So we can put him on leave without pay, but there’s a process we have to go through to do that.”