Charges dismissed against star golfer Scottie Scheffler over traffic incident during PGA Championship

He faced four charges, including second-degree assault of a police officer.

May 29, 2024, 2:39 PM

All charges have been dismissed against star golfer Scottie Scheffler, who was arrested while in Louisville, Kentucky, for the PGA Championship earlier this month.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell addressed the court Wednesday on a motion to dismiss the charges after he said his office conducted a "thorough" review of the case and could not proceed with the prosecution.

Scheffler's characterization of the incident as a "big misunderstanding" was "corroborated by the evidence" and his actions "do not satisfy the elements of any criminal offenses," O'Connell said.

Judge Anne Delahanty approved the motion during the brief court appearance. Scheffler's attorney, Steve Romines, did not address the court.

In remarks to reporters following the court proceedings, Romines said they were prepared to go forward with the litigation but are "pleased that the case was dismissed today, obviously."

The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning the charges cannot be brought again, "which is something that we required," Romines said.

The golfer, ranked No. 1 in the world, was driving near the Valhalla Golf Club on May 17 hours before his second-round tee time at the year's second major when police alleged he ignored an officer's traffic command and injured the officer with his vehicle.

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.

PHOTO: The Louisville Metro Police Department released footage that shows Scottie Scheffler being led in handcuffs on May 17, 2024.
The Louisville Metro Police Department released footage that shows Scottie Scheffler being led in handcuffs on May 17, 2024.
Louisville Metro Police Department

O'Connell and Romines said that the golfer was not aware of the fatal incident when he was attempting to access the golf course.

"All our thoughts and condolences go out to the Mills family," Romines said Wednesday. "It's just a tragic situation."

In response to the dismissal, Scheffler said he appreciated the support over the past two weeks but wanted to "encourage everyone to remember the real tragedy of May 17."

"My thoughts and prayers continue to be with John Mills and his family, and I hope to personally offer my condolences now that the case is over," Scheffler said on social media Wednesday.

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 was scheduled to be arraigned on June 3.

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

In a police record, Gillis stated he was directing traffic following the accident in front of a gate. After PGA personnel stopped a bus from entering the gate, he stated that he stopped an approaching vehicle and advised the driver, Scheffler, that 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."

PHOTO: Scottie Scheffler walks the 18th fairway during the final round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 19, 2024 in Louisville, Ky.
Scottie Scheffler walks the 18th fairway during the final round of the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 19, 2024 in Louisville, Ky.
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Scheffler on Wednesday called the interaction an "unfortunate misunderstanding" and said there was a "severe miscommunication in a chaotic situation."

"I hold no ill will toward Officer Gillis," Scheffler said. "I wish to put this incident behind me and move on, and I hope he will do the same. Police officers have a difficult job and I hold them in high regard."

Scheffler previously 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 following his arrest on social media. "I never intended to disregard any of the instructions."

Romines told reporters Wednesday that they were contemplating civil action over the arrest but that Scheffler "does not wish to do that" due to the expense it could incur for taxpayers.

"Also, litigation is a distraction for anyone," Romines said.

The Louisville Metro Police Department said Wednesday it respected the county attorney's decision to dismiss the charges.

"LMPD will remain focused on our mission to serve the city of Louisville and mitigate violent crime," the department said in a statement.

There is no body camera footage of the incident between Scheffler and the officer, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg previously told reporters. Gillis had a body-worn camera but had not switched it on, in violation of department policy, according to Louisville Metro Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel.

Following an internal investigation, Gillis received a corrective action for failing to turn on his body-worn camera, the chief announced on May 23.

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