Police body camera footage shows an Oklahoma City police captain who was pulled over for suspected drunk driving asking the arresting officer to turn off his body camera.
Sgt. Christopher Skinner pulled over Capt. James Matthew French, 55, a little after 1:30 a.m. on March 12 after allegedly seeing his SUV swerving and making a turn without signaling, according to Oklahoma City Police Department incident reports, parts of which were redacted, and body camera footage released by the department.
CNN did not immediately hear back from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 123, which represents members of the Oklahoma City Police Department, with any comment on French’s behalf.
In the body camera video, French is seen telling Skinner he is an Oklahoma City police captain before pointing to his chest and telling Skinner to turn his body camera off. Less than a minute later, French again tells the officer to turn his body camera off.
“Turn the camera off,” French whispers. “Please.”
“Huh?” Skinner says.
“Turn the camera off,” French whispers again.
“I’m not turning my camera off,” Skinner responds.
Skinner asked French how much he had to drink. French responded he was at a poker game and had “three or four” beers, the latest about two hours before the traffic stop.
The video shows French again repeatedly asking Skinner to turn the body camera off as French struggles with field sobriety tests.
“I know you are aware of our body cam policy,” Skinner tells French. “You know I cannot turn off this body camera.”
“I do,” French says. “But I’d like to talk to you.”
“I am a captain in the police department,” French says after a brief exchange.
“I understand that, sir. And I’m a sergeant… and I’ve taken an oath to uphold the law. I don’t show favoritism to anyone regardless,” Skinner says.
“Okay. I’m not asking for that,” French says.
According to an incident report, French was arrested and booked on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and failure to signal intention to turn.
Oklahoma City Police told CNN French is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
“As to why Captain French was saying that, I can only make assumptions, but the officer did exactly as he should have by not turning the camera off,” Police Chief Wade Gourley told CNN affiliate KOCO.