Charges against Scottie Scheffler dismissed after arrest outside PGA Championship

Author: Editors Desk, Dakin Andone, Gabe Cohen, Emma Tucker and Andy Rose, CNN Source: CNN:::
May 29, 2024 at 14:08
Scottie Scheffler looks on in May from the 17th green at Colonial Country Club in Texas. Tim Heitman/Getty Images
Scottie Scheffler looks on in May from the 17th green at Colonial Country Club in Texas. Tim Heitman/Getty Images














Louisville, Kentucky (CNN) — All charges against Scottie Scheffler have been dismissed less than two weeks after the world No. 1 golfer was arrested trying to drive around the scene of a fatal crash on his way to the PGA Championship – and as video of the arrest aftermath emerged.

Scheffler, 27, had been charged with felony second-degree assault on a police officer and the lesser charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic, Jefferson County court records showed.

“Based upon the totality of the evidence, my office cannot move forward in the prosecution of the charges filed against Mr. Scheffler,” County Attorney Mike O’Connell said Wednesday in court. “Mr. Scheffler’s characterization that this was, quote, a ‘big misunderstanding,’ close quote, is corroborated by the evidence.”

Jefferson County District Court Judge Anne Delahanty dismissed the matter with prejudice – meaning it cannot come up again – “and it will be ripe for expungement within 60 days,” she said. Scheffler, who lives in Texas, had permission to miss this hearing that only recently appeared on the court docket.

Scheffler had faced charges, including felony second-degree assault on a police officer on suspicion of dragging an officer with his car while arriving at the Valhalla Golf Club early in the morning May 17. He also faced the lesser charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic, according to Jefferson County court records. His arraignment had been set for June 3.


Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell speaks Wednesday at a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky.
Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell speaks Wednesday at a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky. WLKY
Scheffler has called the incident a “big misunderstanding,” and Romines had said his client would plead not guilty. Some officials had believed the charges should be reduced, police department sources told CNN.

The prosecutors’ office said Thursday it was still reviewing evidence and interviewing investigators about the charges.

The golfer’s arrest was a dramatic shakeup for the PGA Championship, given Scheffler – a new father who one golf writer described as an upstanding, “squeaky clean” player – was the overwhelming favorite on the heels of winning his second Masters title last month. He ultimately finished eight shots behind the winner, Xander Schauffele, for a share of eighth place.

“I did my best to leave that behind me and come out here and compete and do what I love, and the support I got from the fans was amazing,” Scheffler told reporters May 19, following the tournament. “I think they were cheering extra loud for me this week, and I got a lot of support from the players and caddies as well.”


‘A very chaotic situation’

Wednesday’s hearing unfolded as body camera footage surfaced showing an initial conversation Scheffler had with a law enforcement officer following his arrest.

The blurry footage – apparently filmed at the arrest scene – is legitimate, a spokesperson for the Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said. It appears to show an officer read Scheffler his Miranda rights before questioning the golfer about the incident.

“LMPD moved quickly to release footage of Mr. Scheffler’s arrest on May 23rd, just days after the incident occurred,” Scottie Ellis, the mayor’s communications director, said Wednesday in a statement.

“At the press conference where that footage was released, Mayor Greenberg stated that based on a request from the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office, no other video would be released until the conclusion of the legal process,” Ellis said. “It is unfortunate and very concerning that an individual leaked information that should have remained confidential until the completion of the investigation.”

The arrest unfolded around 6 a.m. on May 17, when Scheffler was trying to drive to the Valhalla Golf Club for the second round of the golf major and came upon heavy traffic near the scene of a fatal crash.

Earlier in the morning, a pedestrian – John Mills, 69, whose family said he enjoyed working in security at Valhalla – was fatally struck by a bus while trying to cross the main road leading to the course, Louisville police spokesperson Dwight Mitchell said. As a result, police had an increased presence around the course’s entrance.

Scheffler – driving a marked player courtesy vehicle, according to ESPN – was trying to gain access to the course when he was stopped by an officer wearing a full police uniform and a yellow reflective rain jacket, a Louisville police report says. The officer, Detective Bryan Gillis, stopped Scheffler and attempted to give instructions.

“Subject refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground,” the report states.

The detective suffered pain, swelling and cuts to his left wrist and knee and was taken to a hospital for further treatment, the report states. His uniform pants, valued at about $80, “were damaged beyond repair,” the report adds.

At a news conference last week where video of the incident was released, Louisville Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said the detective failed to turn on his body-worn camera and “corrective action for the policy violation” has been taken.

Scheffler was detained and arrested, but he was later released from jail and returned to the golf course for his tee time four hours later. Scheffler that day said he believed he was following officers’ instructions, according to a statement shared on his Instagram account.

“This morning, I 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,” he said. “I never intended to disregard any of the instructions.”

Romines, Scheffler’s attorney, similarly said his client “did not do anything wrong,” citing witnesses’ accounts.

“He stopped immediately upon being directed to and never at any point assaulted any officer with his vehicle,” Romines said in an earlier statement. “We will plead not guilty and litigate this matter as needed.”

Despite spending part of his morning in a jail cell and getting his mug shot taken in an orange jumpsuit, Scheffler played well May 17 and shot 5-under par, leaving him near the top of the leaderboard. But he struggled the next day, leaving himself with too much ground to make up to clinch a second consecutive major.

As for his apparent legal troubles, the golfer was unsure what would come next, telling reporters on May 19, “I think it’s all up in the air.”

“I think I’m able to get home tonight but we’ll see when I leave here,” he said. “I haven’t really had much chance to assess the situation off the course.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CNN’s Steve Almasy, Gloria Pazmino, Jill Martin, Jack Bantock, Eric Levenson, Ray Sanchez and Andy Rose contributed to this report.

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