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‘You cannot detain me’: Police bodycam shows state lawmaker insisting he cannot be arrested for public intoxication


An Oklahoma lawmaker detained for public intoxication last week is seen on police body-camera footage trying to pressure law enforcement to let him go and is seen trying to use his status as a state representative to avoid arrest.

Rep. Dean Davis, 50, of Broken Arrow, was arrested early Thursday morning at the Skinny Slim’s pub located in Oklahoma City. According to police, Davis was among the bar patrons who were drinking on the patio of the bar after 2:00 a.m., in violation of local law.

Davis, however, refused to leave, despite two police officers instructing him and others to leave. One witness told police she had told Davis and his companions several times to leave the bar, as it was closed, and that they were not allowed to continue drinking on the patio. She says that the “group kept saying they were representatives.”

“There were three males whom were still drinking and did not comply with the first request,” the probable cause warrant for Davis’ arrest said. “The person later identified as [Rep.] Davis became argumentative.”

Davis was asked “two more times to put his drink down and to leave or he could go to jail,” the affidavit says. At that point, Officer Timothy Brewer activated his body-worn camera.

“Davis then put his drink down and pulled out his wallet,” the affidavit says. The representative then “tried to show us a credential and stated to the effect of you don’t know how bad you messed up you will find out tomorrow. At this time I advised [Davis] to put his hands behind his back.”

“What’s going on here?” Davis is heard asking.

“You’re intoxicated and you’re in public,” an officer responds.

“Are you guys really doing this?” an incredulous Davis asks.

“No, sir, you are doing this,” an officer replies, telling Davis that he was “given ample opportunity to walk away.”

A man, presumably one of Davis’ companions that night, is seen in the background holding a cellphone up as if he is recording the interaction.

“You cannot detain me right now,” Davis is heard saying. An officer says that he can, indeed, detain him.

“Hey, T.J.! They said that they can detain me right now!” Davis is then heard yelling, purportedly to Rep. T.J. Marti (R), who local NBC affiliate KFOR reported was at the bar with Davis.

“You’re not being detained,” an officer responds. “You’re being arrested.”

“I’m being arrested!” Davis shouts and demands to know why. He is again told that he is being arrested for “public intoxication.”

Davis continues to protest as he and the officers reach the police car.

“This’ll be good,” Davis then says.

“What’s that?” an officer asks. Davis instructs him to pull a card out from his cellphone and to read “what state law says.”

The arresting officer reads quickly through the text on the card before reaching what Davis apparently believes is irrefutable proof that he cannot be arrested.

“Senators or representatives shall, except for treason, felony or breach of peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the Legislature,” the officer says reading the card.

“You’re not in the legislature,” he says to Davis.

“Yes I am,” Davis replies.

“You’re not in the state Capitol right now,” the officer says.

“Fine,” Davis replies, telling the officer to call his supervisor.

“Hey, T.J.!” Davis then calls out,

“I don’t answer to T.J.,” the officer tells Davis. “At this point right now, the way I’m reading it, I’m not arresting you at the state legislature.”

More from Law&Crime: Oklahoma City police captain tries to get out of his DUI by repeatedly asking sergeant to turn off his bodycam

Davis later appears to suggest that he is immune from detention or arrest because, hypothetically, he could have been meeting with other state lawmakers at the bar. He confirms to the officer that his companions were state representatives, but refuses to provide their names.

Davis also insists that the cops couldn’t prove he was intoxicated because they didn’t “test” him, and tells the officer that he was drinking a Coke.

The public intoxication charge is a misdemeanor, according to the affidavit.

Local NBC affiliate KFOR reported that Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) hadn’t heard of the arrest as of Friday.

“People sometimes make poor choices and they need to be held and they need to be held accountable,” said Stitt. “So don’t know any specifics about that. But, you know, we’re going to be a law and order state in Oklahoma and we hold ourselves to higher standards, especially as public officials.”

State House Democratic leader Rep. Cyndi A. Munson said on Facebook that she reviewed the arrest footage and that it is “distressing.”

“It is known that this isn’t the first time the Representative has been arrested on charges related to intoxication and has attempted to use his position as an elected official to avoid facing consequences,” she wrote. “It appears he needs to seek help for substance abuse. And I sincerely hope he does.”

Munson added that state representatives “are not above the law and must protect the public safety of all people.”

According to KFOR, Davis was charged with a DUI stemming from an alcohol-related incident in 2019 and recently pleaded “no contest” to those charges.

Davis disputed any wrongdoing in an address on the House floor, KFOR reported.

“I understand that last night has become a story and that many of my colleagues in the House are being asked to comment on or to explain the events of last night,” Davis reportedly said. “I dispute any wrongdoing. However, I do want to take this opportunity to apologize to this body for creating this unnecessary distraction from the important work of the House. Thank you members for allowing me this time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”

Davis, a Republican who represents the 98th District in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, was first elected to his seat in 2018.

Editor’s note: A previous version of the story incorrectly identified the NBC affiliate station KFOR. This has been corrected. 

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