Charges dropped against Scottie Scheffler from Louisville arrest

May 29, 2024, 2:39 PM

Criminal charges have been dropped against world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler after the Jefferson County Attorney's Office in Louisville, Kentucky, said it would not pursue the case that stemmed from a traffic incident outside the PGA Championship earlier this month.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell asked for the charges to be dismissed with prejudice -- meaning they can't be filed again in the future -- during a court hearing Wednesday.

"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. "Mr. Scheffler's characterization that this was a 'big misunderstanding' is corroborated by the evidence. The evidence we reviewed supports the conclusion that Detective [Bryan] Gillis was concerned for public safety at the scene when he initiated contact with Mr. Scheffler. However, Mr. Scheffler's actions and the evidence surrounding their exchange during this misunderstanding do not satisfy the elements of any criminal offenses."

Scheffler, who was not present at the hearing, was arrested May 17 by Gillis, a Louisville Metro Police detective who alleged that Scheffler's SUV accelerated and dragged him to the ground, causing pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee. The golfer was trying to drive around traffic outside Valhalla Golf Club that had backed up after a man was struck and killed by a shuttle bus earlier that morning.

Scheffler, 27, was booked and released less than two hours before his second-round tee time. He had faced four charges, including felony second-degree assault of a police officer.

"We've been going back and forth since it happened," Steve Romines, Scheffler's attorney, told ESPN. "I had made it clear to them, as I've said, that it was not a negotiation. We were either going to litigate the case or it was going to be dismissed. They correctly came to the conclusion that there was not probable cause and the case should be dismissed."

Romines told ESPN that there were two witnesses -- who can be seen in videos released by the LMPD from a dashcam video in a cruiser and a fixed camera from a light pole -- who refuted allegations that Scheffler's SUV struck or dragged Gillis. Romines said there were other eyewitnesses who can't be seen in the video.

"[Gillis] was not struck by Scottie's car, and he was not drug by Scottie's car," Romines said. "So however he got to torn pants or a scrape on his knee didn't have anything to do with Scottie Scheffler."

On Thursday, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel announced that Gillis had been disciplined because he didn't activate his bodycam video recorder during the incident.

"We respect the County Attorney's decision, and we respect the judicial process," the LMPD said in a statement, adding that additional video from Scheffler's arrest is set to be released.

Romines said he was prepared to file a civil suit against LMPD on Monday, when Scheffler had been scheduled to appear in court for the criminal charges.

"I made it clear to them that if we have to litigate the case and he has to come back and start the court process, we're not letting it go," Romines said. "He has a very viable civil claim. We discussed in detail forgoing that and what it involves. Litigation is distracting for people that are involved in it. The last thing Scottie Scheffler needs is to be in the middle of a historic season and be distracted by litigation and depositions.

"If he thought it would have a positive effect, he was willing to do whatever, and we were willing to do whatever if they forced us to litigate the criminal case," Romines added. "In any sort of civil rights case or police misconduct case, the taxpayers are who pay. He doesn't want money from Louisville taxpayers."

After being released from jail, Scheffler carded a 5-under 66 in the second round of the PGA Championship to remain in contention for his second straight victory at a major. He posted a 2-over 73 in the third round -- his worst score in 266 days that ended his streak of 42 consecutive rounds of par or better.

He rallied for a 6-under 65 on Sunday and finished tied for eighth with a 72-hole total of 13 under, eight strokes behind winner Xander Schauffele.

Scheffler, who has won in four of his past seven starts, is scheduled to compete in next week's Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, the last tournament before the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina on June 13-16.