Lawmaker: 'You Can't Detain Me.' Cop: Well, Actually...

Police: Oklahoma Rep. Dean Davis wouldn't leave bar, claimed his arrest was unconstitutional
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2023 8:35 AM CDT

What's going on in Oklahoma? Earlier this month, a police captain there arrested on suspicion of DUI asked, in vain, for the officer who'd pulled him over to turn off his bodycam. Now, another incident in which more cops from the Sooner State faced a similarly confrontational dilemma with a state lawmaker who insisted his arrest was unconstitutional. Per an arrest affidavit cited by the Oklahoman, Sgt. Timothy Brewer of the Oklahoma City Police Department says GOP Rep. Dean Davis was detained early Thursday in the city's Bricktown neighborhood, after Brewer and another officer noticed Davis and others still hanging out on the patio of a local bar shortly after the city's required 2am shutdown.

Per the affidavit, cops asked the lingering patrons at Skinny Slim's to leave, including one man who was told three times to ditch his drink and go home, per KFOR. That man, IDed as Davis, did finally put his drink down, per the arrest report, though he told Brewer, "You don't know how bad you messed up, [but] you will find out tomorrow." That's when Brewer says he told Davis to put his hands behind his back, at which point Davis was handcuffed and brought to Brewer's patrol vehicle. "You can't detain me," Davis says in bodycam footage released to the Washington Post (the Oklahoman also has video). "I can, and I am right now," Brewer replied.

Davis, who by then had become "argumentative," per the affidavit, next asked Brewer to pull a card out of his wallet and read what it said on the back. It read: "Senators and Representatives shall, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the Legislature." Davis insisted that because the state Legislature had kicked off its most recent session on Feb. 6, he couldn't be arrested; Brewer disagreed, noting Davis wasn't actually at the state Capitol working at the time. Davis, who claimed he had cola in his cup when he was arrested—a claim backed up by another lawmaker he was with at the bar—was charged with public drunkenness, a misdemeanor.

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Later that day, he told colleagues on the state House floor he was sorry for "creating this unnecessary distraction," though he denied any wrongdoing. At a Friday presser, Gov. Kevin Stitt reacted to the arrest, noting to KFOR, "People sometimes make poor choices and ... they need to be held accountable." The outlet notes that Davis, who sits on the House's Alcohol, Tobacco, and Controlled Substances panel, pleaded no contest to DUI charges in 2019, an incident for which he was placed on probation. (More Oklahoma stories.)

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