An Oklahoma City police captain pulled over on suspicion of DUI in his unmarked, city-owned SUV repeatedly asked an officer to turn his body camera off before he was arrested, video shows.
In the body camera video released Thursday by the Oklahoma City Police Department, Sgt. Christopher Skinner pulls over Capt. James French, 55, after seeing the SUV he was driving speeding and swerving early Sunday, police said.
In the video, French gets out of his SUV in a driveway with his hands up.
“Stay in your vehicle. Get back in your car,” Skinner tells him.
French reaches into his pocket.
“Don’t reach in your pocket,” Skinner says. “Get back in your car.”
French tells him he’s a captain with the Oklahoma City Police Department. When Skinner asks him why he pulled into the driveway, French says he lives there with his mother.
“How much we had to drink tonight, sir?” Skinner asks.
French signals with his hand and whispers turn the camera off.
“I’m not turning my camera off,” Skinner responds and tells him to step out of the vehicle.
Skinner again asks how much he had to drink. French says he was at a poker game and had three or four beers, the last at midnight. It was 1:40 a.m. at the time, the video showed.
“You think you should drive?” Skinner asks.
“No, but I came from four blocks,” French says.
French appears to stumble during a field sobriety test and asks Skinner to turn off the camera.
“I cannot, sir,” Skinner says. “I know you’re aware of our bodycam policy.”
French repeats his request. At one point, he says, “I’m a captain on this police department.”
“I understand that, sir, and I am a sergeant on this police department. I don’t show favoritism to anyone. I don’t care if you’re a gang banger or the President of the United States,” Skinner said. “I was to treat you differently than I was to treat like some South Side Loco or some pedo, how’s that look on me?”
“I’m not asking for that,” French says.
“Are you going to do the test or not, sir?” Skinner said.
“I will. I will do whatever you ask,” French responds.
Skinner tells French, “OK, once we complete the test, I’ll turn off my body camera once I’m done with my investigation.”
“OK,” French says.
French tries the sobriety test again, appears to stumble again and asks the officer, “Please, I’m asking you.”
“I can’t do that,” French says.
After doing a heel-to-toe walk and turn test, French asks Skinner again, “Can I talk to you?”
Skinner asks French to turn around, put his hands behind his back and handcuffs him.
French was released on bail and placed on paid administrative leave.
In a news conference Thursday, Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley praised Skinner, NBC’s Oklahoma City affiliate KFOR-TV reported. “The officer did exactly as he should,” Gourley said, according to the outlet. “I’m proud of the way that our officers dealt with it at the scene. I hate that we’re in this position. I hate it for Captain French. I hate it for our organization.”
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