Oklahoma City police captain asks officer to turn off camera after arrest for suspected drunk driving, video shows

Body camera video shows an Oklahoma City Police Department captain repeatedly asking a fellow officer to turn off his camera after he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Capt. James “Matt” French was arrested Sunday after Sgt. Chris Skinner said he saw French swerve into his SUV and spin around without using a signal, according to the video footage.

Skinner stops French as the Captain pulls into the driveway of a house. French immediately comes out with his hands up, shows the video. Skinner then orders him to go back inside the vehicle.

“I am…” French begins to say.

“Drunk?” Skinner asks.

“No. I’m the captain,” French replies.

French gets back in his SUV and tells Skinner again that he is with the city police department. He then whispers to Skinner, “Turn off your camera.

Skinner refused the request and asks French to get out of the vehicle.

French says on the video that he was at a poker game and drank three or four beers. Skinner asks French if he thinks he should have driven.

“No, but I’m from four blocks,” replies the captain.

Skinner orders French to lift one leg and count until told to stop. When French loses his balance, he again asks the officer to turn off his camera.

“I can’t, sir. I know you’re aware of our body camera policy. You know I can’t turn off this body camera,” the officer said. “I’m sworn to uphold the law. I don’t show favoritism to anyone, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if you’re a mobster or the President of the United States.”

French is eventually handcuffed after repeatedly losing his balance.

The Oklahoma City Police Department said French had been employed by them for 32 years. The department will conduct a criminal investigation followed by an administrative investigation into French’s actions, a spokesperson said.

CORRECTION (March 17, 2023, 6:22 p.m. ET) A previous headline on this article misrepresented the rank of the Oklahoma City law enforcement official seen in the video. He’s a police captain, not the chief.


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