GOLF

Officer Who Arrested Scottie Scheffler Disciplined For Not Having Bodycam Activated

May 23, 2024, 12:59 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky police officer who arrested top-ranked golfer Scottie Scheffler outside the PGA Championship is receiving “corrective action” for not having his body-worn camera activated when he approached the golfer’s vehicle — an interaction that allegedly resulted in the officer being dragged to the ground, authorities said Thursday.

Officer disciplined for not having bodycam active during Scheffler arrest

Louisville officials said during a news conference that they are not aware of any video footage of the initial interaction last Friday between Scheffler and Louisville Detective Bryan Gillis outside the gates of Valhalla Golf Club on a dark and rainy morning. But Gillis wrote in a report on his failure to turn on the camera that Scheffler “demanded to be let in and proceeded forward … I was dragged/knocked down by the driver.”

RELATED: Scottie Scheffler Tees Off At PGA Championship Following Morning Arrest

Police did release video Thursday from a street pole camera that appears to show Scheffler’s SUV turning into the golf club entrance, prompting an officer to run toward the vehicle and seemingly strike it as it comes to a stop. The camera is too far away to capture the full details of the encounter.

Another video released by authorities comes from a police vehicle dashcam and shows Scheffler in handcuffs as he is escorted by officers.

The local prosecutor handling the case has requested that any additional video or evidence related to the case not be released “until the conclusion of the legal process,” the mayor said.

Scheffler was arrested on charges that he injured Gillis and disobeyed commands, but the golfer said “he never intended to disregard any of the instructions,” and the incident was caused by a misunderstanding.

After the news conference, Scheffler’s attorney Steve Romines said his client was not at fault.

“Our position is the same as it was last Friday, Scottie Scheffler didn’t do anything wrong, we’re not interested in settling the case,” Romines said. “We’ll either try it or it will be dismissed.”

The city’s police chief noted that the department’s officers are expected to maintain their body-worn cameras in a “constant state of operational readiness.”

“Detective Gillis should have turned on his body-worn camera but did not,” Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said. “His failure to do so is a violation of LMPD policy on uniforms and equipment.”

The report on the internal investigation said Gillis should have at least had his camera on in standby mode while directing traffic before the incident with Scheffler.

Gwinn-Villaroel said he “received corrective action” for the violation. The document released Thursday said Gillis completed a “failure to record” form as required by policy, and was “counseled by a member of his command” and a “performance observation” was completed.

Gillis wrote in the document that he was requested to respond to a fatal accident at Valhalla when he saw Scheffler’s vehicle “traveling in the opposing lanes coming at me.”

Scheffler was driving before dawn to Valhalla Golf Club to play in the second round of the tournament when he encountered Gillis.

Gillis, who approached Scheffler’s car on foot, wrote in an arrest report that Scheffler “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging” Gillis to the ground. Gillis said his uniform pants were damaged in the fall and he was taken to the hospital for his injuries.

A few hours later, after a trip to jail, Scheffler returned to the golf course in time for his 10:08 a.m. tee time. He finished the tournament Sunday tied for eighth place, enough for a tournament payout of about $520,000.

He is scheduled to return to Louisville on June 3 to be arraigned on four charges, including second-degree felony assault of a police officer.

Louisville police’s current body camera policy was enacted amid controversy in 2020 after officers shot Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was killed during a botched drug raid. At the time, the plain-clothes officers who served the warrant and fired at Taylor were not required to wear body cameras.

The new policy required all officers to turn on the camera “prior to engaging in all law enforcement activities and encounters.”

The police chief at the time of Taylor’s death was later fired when officers at the scene of another fatal shooting failed to turn on their body-worn cameras.

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Officer Who Arrested Scottie Scheffler Disciplined For Not Having Bodycam Activated