A veteran Oklahoma Police Department police captain who was arrested for drunk driving repeatedly asked the arresting officer to turn off his body camera during the investigation. Captain James “Matt” French was pulled over Sunday morning after the police officer saw the police veteran swerving and speeding in his unmarked, city-owned SUV, reported FOX 25.
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Who is James “Matt” French?
James French is a veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department. He is 32 years old. In the body camera footage released this week by the department, French can be seen with his hands up outside his unmarked, city-assigned SUV in the driveway of a home where he said he lived.
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Sergeant Chris Skinner approached him and told him to get back in the vehicle. When French was asked whether he has been drinking, he replied, “I’m a captain of the police department” and whispered for Skinner to “turn the camera off,” the video shows.
“Turn the camera off, please,” French requested after he was asked how much he had to drink.
Skinner said, “I’m not turning my camera off,” as he then directed French to step out of his car.
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During the investigation, French accepted that he had been at a poker game and he had drunk three to four beers, the video shows.
When asked to do a sobriety test, French again pleaded, “Sir, can- can you turn that off?”
“I know you are aware of our body cam policy. You know I cannot turn off this body cam,” the sergeant told French.
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During a balance test, French lifted his left leg only to stumble forward. He then asked the officer to switch off the camera a third time.
Skinner stood his ground again, saying that he had taken an oath to uphold the law and would not show favoritism to anyone.
Eventually, French was placed in handcuffs and booked into the county jail for driving under the influence of alcohol. Later, he was released posting bond.
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Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley appreciated the officer for his professionalism and for following the department’s body cam protocols. He informed me that French was put on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation.