Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support NHPR's local journalism that brings clarity, context, and community!

Criminal charges are dropped against top-ranked golfer Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler speaks during a news conference  after the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club, in Louisville, Ky., on May 17. Criminal charges against Scheffler have been dismissed.
Matt York
/
AP
Scottie Scheffler speaks during a news conference after the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club, in Louisville, Ky., on May 17. Criminal charges against Scheffler have been dismissed.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Criminal charges against Scottie Scheffler have been dismissed, ending a legal saga that began with images of the world’s top golfer being arrested and handcuffed in Louisville during the PGA Championship.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell asked a judge Wednesday afternoon to drop the four charges against Scheffler, who was not required to be in the courtroom. The prosecutor said his team reviewed the case in a “thorough and expeditious manner.”

“Based upon the totality of the evidence, my office cannot move forward in the prosecution of the charges filed against Mr. Scheffler," O'Connell said during the hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes. "Mr. Scheffler’s characterization that this was ‘a big misunderstanding’ is corroborated by the evidence.”

Scheffler’s attorney, Steve Romines, said the golfer is “happy it’s over” and “obviously, he didn’t do anything wrong.”

Scheffler was charged with a felony for assaulting a police officer with his vehicle, along with three misdemeanors. The arresting officer, Detective Bryan Gillis, was outside the gate of Valhalla Golf Course May 17 directing traffic after a pedestrian death when he encountered Scheffler.

During the hearing, prosecutor O’Connell said the findings of his office’s review of the case led him to request the dismissal of the charges.

“The evidence we reviewed supports the conclusion that Detective Gillis was concerned for public safety at the scene when he initiated contact with Mr. Scheffler,” O’Connell said. “However, Mr. Scheffler’s actions and the evidence surrounding their exchange during this misunderstanding do not satisfy the elements of any criminal offenses.”

Romines was asked if he wanted to comment and replied: “Judge, it’s taken me a long time to understand that when I’m winning, don’t talk. So I have nothing to say, your honor.”

The judge then accepted the dismissal motion.

What happened before the arrest

Scheffler, 27, was driving a PGA courtesy vehicle when Gillis said he “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 surveillance video released by Louisville police last week showed Gillis pursuing Scheffler’s vehicle on foot and stopping him from entering the course. Scheffler is later pulled from the car and cuffed. But the video did not show Gillis’ first contact with Scheffler, authorities said.

Gillis has been disciplined for not activating his body-worn camera during the arrest. In a report on that failure, Gillis wrote that Scheffler had “demanded to be let in” the golf course.

Scheffler has said he simply misunderstood the commands coming from traffic officers.

The famous golfer spent a brief stint in a jail cell, then returned to the course for the second round. He finished the tournament tied for eighth place.

Romines said eyewitness accounts confirmed that the officer was not dragged by Scheffler’s car.

“The more evidence that comes out, the more it shows that Scottie was a victim here. And I think everybody sees something like this happen and realizes they’re one wrong turn ... from going to jail themselves,” he said after the hearing.

The lawyer said there were grounds for a civil lawsuit against the Louisville police department but Scheffler is not interested in pursuing litigation.

“Scottie Scheffler doesn’t want the taxpayers of Louisville to have to pay him a dime,” he said.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 PRE News & Ideas]
Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.