Officer disciplined for bodycam off in Scottie Scheffler case

May 23, 2024, 12:59 PM

The Louisville Metro Police Department has taken "corrective action" against the police officer who arrested world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler last week because he didn't activate his bodycam video recorder during the incident outside the gates of Valhalla Golf Club, police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel announced Thursday.

During a news conference, Gwinn-Villaroel said Gillis violated the department's standard operating procedures for body-worn cameras (BWC), which states that officers are required to "maintain their BWC in a constant state of operational readiness."

"Detective Gillis did not have his body-worn camera operationally ready as required by our policy," Gwinn-Villareal said. "He was performing a law-enforcement action as defined in our policy. Further, section 4.31.7 states members will maintain their BWC in constant state of operational readiness.

"Detective Gillis should have turned on his body worn camera but did not. His failure to do so is a violation of LMPD policy on uniforms and equipment."

Gwinn-Villaroel said Gillis was counseled by his supervisor and the violation was noted in his personnel file.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said there is no video available of when Gillis made his initial interaction with Scheffler.

"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.

On Thursday, the Louisville police department released two videos, which were captured by a fixed security camera on the other side of the road where Scheffler was arrested, and from a dash-cam video camera in a police car at the scene.

In a body-worn camera failure to record form, Gillis wrote: "While directing traffic in front of Gate 1 the PGA personnel stopped a bus from entering Gate 1. I observed a vehicle traveling in the opposing lanes coming at me. I stopped the driver and advised him he could not proceed because of the bus. He demanded to be let in and proceeded forward against my directions. I was dragged/knocked down by the driver. I then proceeded to arrest the driver."

Scheffler, 27, faces charges of second-degree assault of a police officer, third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding traffic signals from an officer directing traffic. The assault charge is a felony; the others are misdemeanors.

Scheffler's attorney, Steven Romines, told reporters shortly after Thursday's news conference that his client wasn't interested in a plea deal. He previously told ESPN that Scheffler would plead not guilty.

"Our position is the same as it was last Friday," Romines said. "Scottie Scheffler didn't do anything wrong. We're not interested in settling the case, we will either try it or it'll be dismissed. It's very simple. All the evidence that continues to come out just continues to support what Scottie said all along: This was a chaotic situation and miscommunication, and he didn't do anything wrong."

An arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET on June 3.

A police incident report released Friday said Gillis was standing in the middle of the westbound lanes when Scheffler's SUV pulled into the lanes to avoid traffic before the second round of the PGA Championship. The report said Gillis was wearing a full police uniform and a "high-visibility yellow reflective rain jacket."

According to the incident report, Gillis stopped Scheffler's SUV and attempted to give him instructions. The report said Scheffler "refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground."

Gillis was transported to a hospital by emergency medical personnel for evaluation. According to the report, he suffered "pain, swelling and abrasions" to his left wrist and knee. His pants were also damaged beyond repair.

Traffic was backed up following a fatal accident around 5 a.m. ET Friday, in which an employee of a vendor was struck and killed by a bus while trying to cross the road to Valhalla.

Greenberg said the Jefferson County Attorney's Office had requested that no additional evidence be released until the case is resolved.

"We are all looking to move forward," Greenberg said. "I know there are a lot of questions right now from every member of the media here and people across the entire city. We have to respect the legal process, and that'ss what we are going to do. And we're going to let that play out. We want to move forward. Mr. Scheffler has made it clear that he wants to be moved forward. And I know that everyone else involved that LMPD wants to move forward."