(Update: Less than one month after being arrested, Rep. Dean Davis pleaded no contest to his public drunkenness charge and paid a $178 fine to the Oklahoma City Municipal Court on April 11, 2023. The following article remains in its original form.)
Only 20 days after his probation expired for a DUI arrest in Broken Arrow, Rep. Dean Davis was arrested early Thursday morning outside of an Oklahoma City bar on an allegation of public drunkenness. Embedded above, about six minutes of body camera footage released Friday by the Oklahoma City Police Department shows Davis questioning the circumstances of his arrest and claiming he cannot be detained owing to the ongoing legislative session.
“I’m not arresting you at the state Legislature. Or going to or from (it),” OKCPD officer Timothy Brewer told Davis after the lawmaker instructed him to read his House of Representatives identification card.
Davis attempted to argue that the Oklahoma Constitution prohibited his arrest: “You can’t detain me.”
The officer replied bluntly to Davis (R-Broken Arrow).
“I can, and I am right now,” Brewer said. “We gave you and your friends ample opportunity to leave. You are remaining at a business that is supposed to be closed. You are already obviously intoxicated. Have a seat, and put your feet in.”
The video provided by OKCPD begins as Davis is being handcuffed, and it does not show the initial interaction between officers and the people on the patio.
According to the arrest report from the Oklahoma City Police Department, Davis and other people were observed drinking on the patio of Skinny Slims at 201 E. Main St, only a few yards from OKCPD’s Bricktown police station. Brewer and Cooper approached the group “and gave a lawful command for the patrons to leave.”
“There were three males whom were still drinking and did not comply with the first request. The person later identified as [Dean] Davis became argumentative. [Davis] was asked two more times to put his drink down and to leave or he could go to jail. I activated my [body-worn camera],” Brewer wrote in the report. “Davis then put his drink down and pulled out his wallet. [He] 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.”
Brewer wrote that Davis had “red watery eyes and slurred speech.” Brewer said Davis told him to read his House of Representatives card and “demanded that I call the FOP and superiors. I advised him that Lt. Cooper is my supervisor.”
Asked if he had a statement or an attorney representing, Davis texted NonDoc that he “will get in contact.”
Davis: ‘Call your advisor. Call everyone.’
In the body camera footage, Davis can be heard instructing Brewer and Lt. Jeff Cooper to call their superiors in the department.
“Call your advisor. Call everyone. Hey, TJ!” Davis shouted.
Davis was referring to Rep. T.J. Marti (R-Broken Arrow), who was among the people officers encountered drinking beer on the patio of a bar after 2 a.m. in violation of state law. Reached Friday, Marti challenged the OKCPD report’s narrative.
“He didn’t flash his ID at them. He was actually ordering an Uber and attempting to walk away from them when he was arrested,” Marti said. “They didn’t show the first 30 seconds of the video where they jump out of their cars screaming at everybody. I’d like to see the rest of that. I’m sure you can probably make that happen.”
Marti said the public should be shown “the full video.”
“They left out the part where they’re screaming at a crowd of seven, went straight toward Dean and spoke to nobody else. They left all that part out,” Marti said. “Dean got arrested for being a legislator while drinking a Dr. Pepper.”
Asked if Davis had been drinking, Marti replied: “He didn’t have a drink when they showed up. He had a Dr. Pepper.”
In the body camera footage, Davis implied that Marti was the person who had identified them as legislators. Marti agreed.
“When they showed up yelling at a group of people that were sitting and/or standing out on a patio, they were yelling, and I asked them to be respectful. I said, ‘Please be respectful,’ cause they came up screaming — part of the video that you haven’t gotten to see,” Marti said. “They bypassed everyone, went to Dean, which was suspicious. So I said, ‘This is Rep. Davis, I am Rep. Marti.’ Dean never said a word about Dean being a representative. He didn’t flash them a card. He pulled out his phone to get an Uber.”
Marti said Davis was not intoxicated and was not slurring his speech. He attributed Davis’ red eyes to allergies.
“It wasn’t what it is being reported. Anyone that can watch that video can see that he’s clearly not intoxicated. Anyone that knows Dean knows he carries eyedrops with him. He uses eyedrops all the time. He has allergic conjunctivitis. His eyes are already red. You meet him at the Capitol, look at his eyes,” Marti said. “To arrest somebody for red eyes, it seems like maybe the burden of proof should be higher than that, especially in a state where allergies are probably our No. 1 complaint for the three months starting about a couple of weeks ago, and the grass is turning green.
“Maybe the burden of proof should be higher than red eyes. His speech wasn’t slurred.”
Marti, Davis on House Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances Committee
Early Thursday morning was not Marti’s first time dealing with a Davis arrest. The two men are close friends, and they share an office and a legislative assistant on the fifth floor of the State Capitol.
In August 2019, Davis was arrested for DUI by Broken Arrow police. Thursday’s arrest comes just more than six months after Davis pleaded no contest to the three charges he faced then.
Court records indicate that Davis received deferred sentences on charges for DWI, speeding and obstructing an officer. His six-month probation expired March 3. Davis narrowly missed being charged with a felony DUI for the 2019 case owing to the length of time that had expired since a previous 2010 arrest.
When he was arrested in August 2019, Davis expressed a similar indignation for being detained. He placed phone calls from the Broken Arrow Municipal Jail to Marti and another Republican House colleague, as well as Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado. In his calls from the Broken Arrow Municipal Jail, Davis attempted to curry favorable treatment and complained that the police officer who had arrested him “wasn’t very nice.”
Although Regalado did not answer Davis’ 2019 jail phone call, Davis did reach Marti and Rep. Ross Ford (R-Broken Arrow), asking each for help and referencing the fact that Ford’s wife, Lisa, worked for the Broken Arrow Police Department. Lisa Ford has since retired from the force and is now a member of the Broken Arrow City Council. Neither of the Fords provided assistance to Davis while he was in the jail.
“This is not going to help Broken Arrow at all because they just made an enemy, and that’s not good at all. You know that,” Davis told Marti in the August 2019 jail phone call recording, which was obtained by NonDoc.
On Thursday morning, only hours after he had been released from the Oklahoma County Jail, Davis stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and said he disputed “any wrongdoing” but apologized for “creating this unnecessary distraction.”
“I understand that last night there has become a story that many of my colleagues in the House are now being asked to comment on or to explain the events of last night,” Davis said on the House floor. “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.”
‼️Dean Davis just apologized on the House Floor following his arrest early this morning. pic.twitter.com/7mi9pNWm5d
— Payton May (@paytonnmay) March 23, 2023
Davis is third House Republican arrested in 15 months
If OKC’s city attorney pursues the charge related to Davis’ new arrest, he would become the third member of the Oklahoma House GOP Caucus facing criminal charges. In October, House Appropriations and Budget Vice Chairman Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond) was arrested for DUI in Edmond.
Martinez made a similar claim that referencing Article 5, Section 22 of the Oklahoma Constitution prohibited lawmakers from being arrested during a legislative session, but the constitutional provision is widely understood to prevent a legislator from being impeded while they are on their way to or from the State Capitol to take action during a legislative session. The provision does not grant legislators the equivalent of diplomatic immunity.
Martinez’s case is pending, with a status conference set for later this month.
Along with his wife, current House Majority Whip Terry O’Donnell (R-Catoosa) has been facing a multi-count felony grand jury indictment since December 2021. The complex case involves a bill O’Donnell ran to legalize his wife’s ability to be appointed as a state tag agent in succession of her mother. In February, as lawmakers began their annual regular session, Attorney General Gentner Drummond assumed control of the O’Donnells’ prosecution, speaking briefly with O’Donnell on the House floor Feb. 6 before Gov. Kevin Stitt’s State of the State address.
Earlier this month, House Republicans alleged that Rep. Mauree Turner (D-OKC) obstructed members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol during an investigation related to an altercation at the Capitol. Republicans censured Turner, saying that the nonbinary lawmaker’s actions warranted the formal reprimand because they occurred at the Capitol.
Neither O’Donnell, Martinez nor Davis has been censured, even though the criminal conspiracy charge against O’Donnell directly involved his actions as a legislator carrying and voting on bills.
This year, Davis was appointed to the House Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances Committee. Marti serves as its chairman.
Rep. Dean Davis (R-Broken Arrow)
Body & car camera videos