‘Turn off your camera’: Oklahoma police chief pleads with officers to turn off their body camera after DUI arrest
Shocking body camera footage captured the moment an Oklahoma police chief pleads with officers to turn off the camera as he tries to wriggle out of a DUI arrest.
Captain James French, 55, repeatedly asks the arresting officer to “please talk to me” and whispers to him to turn off his camera, before later revealing that he had been at a poker game and consumed around three or four beers.
French swears as he tries to explain that he is in fact a captain in the force’s Bureau of Investigations, having been employed there for 32 years.
But the arresting officer, Christopher Skinner, stands his ground when he reminds French that he has “sworn an oath to uphold the law.”
“I’m the captain of the police department,” French says in the embarrassing images shared by the Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD).
Shocking video captured the moment Captain James French tries to wriggle out of a DUI arrest after being pulled over by one of his own.
French repeatedly whispers to the officer urging him to turn off his body camera footage.
Skinner then asks what department he says ‘Oklahoma’ and clarifies that he works for the Bureau of Investigation before whispering ‘turn off the camera’.
The officer questions what he is doing in the area to which he replies: ‘I’m home. I stay here.’
He then winces when asked if he’s been drinking and tries to give the officer a knowing look.
“I’m not going to turn my cameras off, you’ve got to be kidding,” Skinner can be heard saying.
After getting out of the car, French is heard telling the officer that he was at a poker game and had consumed three or four beers.
When asked if it was safe for him to drive, he replies: ‘No, but I come from four blocks.’
French has now been placed on administrative leave pending a criminal investigation, an OCPD spokesperson confirmed.
He underwent field sobriety tests that night and is again filmed asking officers to turn off their cameras.
‘Sir, can you turn that off?’ he says, to which Skinner replies, ‘I can’t, sir.’
“Please,” he begs.
The officer then replies, ‘I know you’re aware of our body camera policy. You know I can’t turn off this body camera.
French says, ‘Yes, but I’d like to talk to you,’ and then adds, ‘Please. Please, I’d like to talk to you.
When asked to complete field sobriety tests, he says, ‘Could you talk to me? You can turn it off and on.
Skinner again refuses, at which point French says, ‘Okay, I’m asking you. I am a captain of the police department.
French spent the night in the Oklahoma County Detention Center before being released on bond. He has been placed on administrative duty pending a criminal investigation.
“I understand, sir,” the officer told French.
“I am a sergeant (in this police department) and I have sworn an oath to uphold the law. I don’t show favoritism to anyone despite everything. I don’t care if you’re a gang member or the president of the United States.
He adds, “If I treated you any differently than I would as a South Side nut or a fart, how would that look on me?”
French was taken into custody at 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
A police report filed by Skinner, and seen by dailymail.com, says: “I observed a dark colored vehicle traveling at what appeared to be a high speed, turning left to right three to four blocks in front of me.”
He continues: ‘I detected an odor of alcohol on (French’s) breath, noted that his eyes were watering and that he was slurring his words.’
The report notes that French was unable to take basic sobriety tests, adding that he was transported to the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
‘I asked (French) if he would take the test again. She asked me if she could talk to him outside.
“After giving him two chances to take the test and never getting an answer, I took it as a no.”
French was jailed for a traffic violation but later released on bail.