Officer involved in Scottie Scheffler arrest violated body-worn camera policy: Chief

Louisville Metro Police Department

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- A Louisville, Kentucky, police officer violated department policy when he failed to turn on his body-worn camera during a traffic incident involving golf star Scottie Scheffler during the PGA Championship, authorities said Thursday.

The golfer, ranked No. 1 in the world, was driving near the Valhalla Golf Club on May 17 when authorities allege he drove past a police roadblock and injured an officer with his vehicle. He was arrested hours before his second-round tee time at the year's second major.

Scheffler, 27, was arrested on charges of second-degree assault of a police officer -- a felony -- as well as third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic, according to police. He is scheduled to be arraigned on June 3.

There is no body camera footage of the incident that led to Scheffler's arrest, according to Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg. The officer involved in the interaction, identified as Detective Bryan Gillis, should have turned on his body-worn camera but did not, Louisville Metro Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said at a press conference Thursday.

Following an internal investigation of Scheffler's arrest, the chief said Gillis has received a corrective action for failing to turn on his body-worn camera.

"We understand the seriousness of the failure to capture this interaction, which is why our officer has received corrective action for this policy violation," Gwinn-Villaroel said.

Police also released footage Thursday from two cameras that captured the time of Scheffler's arrest.

The dashcam of a police car captured the golfer being led away in handcuffs, while a fixed pole camera showed the scene, including multiple parked buses and flashing lights.

Greenberg said they released the footage amid the ongoing legal proceedings to be transparent.

"Transparency is incredibly important to our administration, to LMPD, to our community," Greenberg said during the briefing.

Greenberg said there is no known footage that captured what led to Scheffler's arrest, saying the incident occurred in "dark, rainy and tense conditions."

Officials did not take any questions regarding the case during Thursday's briefing.

"We respect the judicial process, and we will allow the courts to proceed accordingly," Gwinn-Villaroel said.

The arrest occurred about an hour after a deadly accident near the golf course. Around 5 a.m. that day, a man was fatally struck by a shuttle bus as he tried to cross a road near the course holding the PGA Championship, according to a statement released by the Louisville Metro Police Department. The victim was identified as PGA Championship volunteer John Mills.

In a police form on his failure to activate his body-worn camera, Gillis wrote he was directing traffic following the accident in front of a gate. After PGA personnel stopped a bus from entering the gate, he wrote that he stopped an approaching vehicle and advised the driver, Scheffler, he could not proceed due to the bus.

"He demanded to be let in, and proceeded forward against my directions," Gillis wrote. "I was dragged/knocked down by the driver. I then proceeded to arrest the driver."

A police report alleged that Scheffler refused to comply with Gillis' request to stop and "accelerated forward," dragging the detective to the ground. Gillis was taken to the hospital after suffering "pain, swelling, and abrasions to his left wrist and knee," the report stated.

Scheffler has called the incident a "big misunderstanding" and said that he was "proceeding as directed by police officers."

"It was a very chaotic situation, understandably so considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier, and there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do," Scheffler said in a statement on social media. "I never intended to disregard any of the instructions."

Scheffler's attorney, Steve Romines, told reporters Thursday that they contend that he didn't do anything wrong and are prepared to litigate the case.

"All the evidence that continues to come out continues to support what Scottie said all along -- this was a chaotic situation and a miscommunication, and he didn't do anything wrong," Romines said.

Romines has previously said they plan to plead not guilty at Scheffler's arraignment.

Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 1:13PM by Meredith Deliso, ABC News Permalink