Oklahoma City police captain arrested on suspicion of impaired driving

An Oklahoma City police captain has been arrested for driving under the influence after he repeatedly asked the arresting officer to turn off his body camera during the investigation.

Capt. James “Matt” French, 55, was arrested Sunday morning after police saw the police veteran swerving and speeding into his unmarked city-owned SUV, Fox 25 reported.

In body camera footage released Thursday by the Oklahoma City Police Department, French is seen sitting in his vehicle in the driveway of the house he claims to live in with his mother.

As the officer approaches the SUV, he asks French if he’s been drinking, to which he replies, “I’m a captain in the police department,” before clarifying that he’s a captain in Oklahoma City.

French points to his chest while asking the officer to turn off his body camera.

French then seemingly pointed to his chest and whispered to the officer to “turn off the camera.”

The officer ignored his initial request, asking French how much he should drink.

French, not wanting to be recorded, made the same motion to his chest, signaling to stop the body camera footage.

“I don’t turn off my camera,” the officer says in disbelief when asked.

As the officer began his investigation, French said he played poker and drank “three or four” beers, with his last drink around midnight – nearly two hours after he was arrested.

When asked if it was wise for him to drive, the captain replied, “No, but I’m from four blocks away [away].”

French struggles to pass various field sobriety tests – unable to keep his balance – and demands – for the third time – that the officer “please” turn off his camera.

Frenchman standing near his car.
French repeatedly pleaded with the officer to turn off his body camera throughout the investigation.

French during the test.
French struggled to pass the field sobriety test and was taken into custody.

“I know you are aware of our body camera policy,” the officer told French. “You know I can’t turn off this body camera.”

“Yes, but I’d like to talk to you,” French said.

The officer tells French – who relentlessly demands that the body camera be turned off – that he will turn it off after the conclusion of his investigation, with French reiterating that he is captain.

“I’m a sergeant and I’m sworn to uphold the law. I’m not showing favoritism to anyone anyway. I don’t care if you’re a gang member or the President of the United States,” the officer said.

Electronic photograph by James French.
French was incarcerated at the Oklahoma County Detention Center and later released on bail.

French was booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center and has since been posted on bail.

French is a 32-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Oklahoma City Police Department Chief Wade Gourley praised the professionalism of the officer who arrested him amid a barrage of requests to turn off his camera, the outlet reported.

“The officer did exactly what he should have done and handled it very professionally in my opinion. As far as the officer’s response goes, he did exactly what he should have done” , Gourley said.

The investigation into French’s arrest is ongoing, but Gourley said the captain has been placed on administrative leave.

“As soon as we were made aware of the incident, he was placed on paid administrative leave,” Gourley said according to Fox 25. “We have a process whereby when criminal charges are filed, in accordance with our FOP contract, we let’s do what is call a predetermination hearing and then put that person on unpaid leave, because again, this is a criminal matter, so we can put him on unpaid leave, but there’s a process which we must follow to do so.

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