A police captain for the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD) was filmed repeatedly asking a sergeant to turn off his body camera during a DUI stop.
On March 12, Captain James “Matt” French of the OKCPD’s homicide investigation team was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving by Sergeant Chris Skinner.
Skinner stopped French at approximately 1:30 a.m. after the captain was allegedly seen swerving, speeding, and not using his turn signals.
In the video, French appears to open his car door before the sergeant approaches.
“Get back in your vehicle,” Sgt. Skinner says.
“I’m,” French starts to say.
“Drunk?” Skinner suggests.
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Skinner said French’s eyes were watery, and his speech was slurred during the exchange. The body camera footage captures the police captain telling the police officers that he’s the captain and repeatedly requests the officer to turn off his body camera.
“I’m a captain of the police department,” French said.
“What police department?” Skinner replies.
“Oklahoma City. Turn your camera off,” the captain commands.
Despite the captain’s repeated demands, Skinner never wavered and refused to turn off his camera.
“Sir, can I … can you turn that off?” French asked the officer again. “I’m asking you. I’m a captain at the police department.”
“I don’t care if you’re a gang banger or the President of the United States,” Skinner replies. “If I were to treat you differently than I was to treat some South Side Loco or some pedo, how does that look on me?”
“I don’t care if you’re a gang banger or the President of the United States”
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Throughout the law enforcement officer’s exchange, Skinner repeatedly asked French how many drinks he had during the evening. Eventually, French said that he was playing a poker game and had “three or maybe four beers.”
The officer questioned French if he thought it was wise to get behind the wheel after drinking.
“No, but I came from four blocks [away],” French said before he began a field sobriety test.
As he struggled to maintain his balance, the captain pleaded for Skinner to “please” turn off the body camera.
“I know you are aware of our body cam policy,” Skinner replied. “You know I cannot turn off this body cam.”
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“I do, but I’d like to talk to you,” French told the officer.
“I’m a sergeant, and I’ve taken an oath to uphold the law. I don’t show favoritism to anyone regardless,” the officer told French.
“I’m a sergeant, and I’ve taken an oath to uphold the law. I don’t show favoritism to anyone regardless.”
French: “Are you going to arrest me, sir?”
Sgt. Skinner: “Yes, I am.”
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French was arrested and booked into Oklahoma County Detention Center. The captain was placed on paid administrative leave while an internal investigation was conducted.