Captain James “Matt” French Wiki – Bio
Captain James “Matt” French was arrested for driving under the influence while repeatedly asking the arresting officer to turn off his body camera during the investigation.
Captain James, 55, was taken into custody Sunday morning after an officer saw the police veteran swerve and speed in his unmarked city-owned SUV. In body camera footage released by the Oklahoma City Police Department on Thursday, French is seen sitting in his vehicle in the driveway of the home where he says he lives with his mother.
Captain James “Matt” French Age
Captain James “Matt” French is 55 years old.
Whispered to the officer to turn off the camera
As the officer approaches the van, he asks French if he’s been drinking, to which he replies, “I’m a captain in the police department,” before specifying that he serves as a captain in Oklahoma City. .
French then apparently pointed to his chest and whispered to the officer to “turn off the camera.” The officer ignored his initial request and asked French how much he had to drink.
French, who did not want to be recorded, made the same movement towards his chest, signaling for him to stop the body camera recording. “I’m not going to turn off my camera,” the officer says in disbelief at the request.
When the officer began his investigation, French said that he had been playing poker and that he had had “three or four” beers, with his last drink around midnight, nearly two hours after he was pulled over.
When asked if it was wise for him to drive, the captain replied, “No, but I came from four blocks [away].” French is struggling to complete several field sobriety tests, unable to keep his balance, and asks, for the third time, that the officer “please” turn off his camera.
“I know you are aware of our body camera policy,” the officer told French. “You know I can’t turn off this body camera.” “Yeah, but I’d like to talk to you,” French said.
The officer tells French, who he continues to relentlessly ask for the body camera to be turned off, that he will turn it off after the conclusion of his investigation, and French reiterates that he is a Captain.
“I am a sergeant 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,” the officer said. French was booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center and has since been released on bond.
He handled it very professionally
French is a 32-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department. Chief Wade Gourley of the Oklahoma City Police Department praised the professionalism of the arresting officer under a barrage of requests to turn off his camera.
“The officer did exactly what he should have done and he handled it very professionally in my opinion. As far as how the officer responded, he did exactly what he should have done,” Gourley said. The investigation into French’s arrest is ongoing, but Gourley said the captain had been placed on administrative leave.
“As soon as we were notified of the incident, he was placed on paid administrative leave,” Gourley said. “We have a process where when criminal charges are filed, under our FOP contract, we do what’s called a predetermination hearing and then put that person on leave without pay, because again it’s a criminal matter. So we can put him on unpaid leave, but there’s a process we have to go through to do that.”