Anadarko City Councilman Jeffrey “J J” Vance tried to bribe and bargain his way out of a DUI arrest; even offered to forfeit his vehicle
ANADARKO, Okla. – An Anadarko city councilman is caught on tape bargaining with officers to get out of a DUI charge.
Jeffrey Jason or “J.J.” Vance was arrested early Wednesday morning.
It started with a routine traffic stop after an officer saw him swerving in his pickup truck, then run a red light.
“Just prior to him failing to stop at the red light, another vehicle had gone through the light while it was yellow,” said Anadarko Police Chief Tracy Roles. “Mr. Vance was well behind that vehicle.”
Vance admitted to the officer he had been drinking, but before the officer could walk back to his vehicle, body camera footage shows Vance mentioned one more thing.
“City council,” said Vance.
“What?” said the officer.
“What about city council?” asked the officer.
“Nothing,” said Vance. “I’m on city council.”
“Ok,” said the officer. “Ok, sit tight.”
The police ignored the comment and they conducted a field sobriety test on Vance. According to the report, officers could smell alcohol on his breath and he was unsteady on his feet.
After failing the field test, they arrested him and brought him back to the station.
Vance blew a .18 on a breathalyzer test, which is above the limit to earn a DUI charge.
But while waiting in the station, he elaborated on what he started on in his truck.
“All I can tell you all is you all just be as nice as you can to me,” Vance can be heard saying on the body camera footage, “because I am on the city council.”
He didn’t stop there, offering to pay a $700 or $800 fine, even bargaining his vehicle.
“Or, or better than that, you can even repo my car so you can make more,” Vance said.
He even made promises based on his position as a councilman.
“If you all can just fine me and let me go home, I will f****** raise all kinds of money for your a**,” Vance said. “I’ve been raising all kinds of money from the police department, forthe police department. For the dogs. I f****** raised like $1,000 for the f****** dogs. I’m not bulls********, I did do that.”
The officers deflected his pleas, saying “we don’t make deals” and “that’s not how it works,” or just ignored him.
“If you’re a city council member, or another elected official, or a member of some sort of other city or governmental agency, that does not make you above the law,” said Roles.
Anadarko Mayor Kyle Eastwood declined to go on camera for the story, but he said in a statement over the phone, “If the allegations are accurate, I would find that to be inappropriate for an elected official. But Mr. Vance is accountable to his constituents, and matters like this should be resolved at the ballot box.”
Mayor Eastwood sent the following longer statement later:
“As I said over the phone, if the allegations against Mr. Vance are true, the judicial process should be allowed to play out and the appropriate punishment determined by a jury. The matter is under investigation by local law enforcement in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office. I have great confidence in our law enforcement officials and district attorney staff to conduct a fair investigation into the matter.
As to the political implications for Mr. Vance as a public official, it is behavior I do not condone and is unbecoming an elected official in the City of Anadarko. However, I am without authority to address his position on the City Council. That authority rests with the voters at the ballot box.
With regard to the body cam video you mentioned, I have not seen that video and cannot comment directly on what it shows. However, if it shows Mr. Vance making inappropriate comments or requests to law enforcement, I would expect that evidence to be turned over to the district attorney for review and the appropriate prosecution.”