Scottie Scheffler arrest: Officer violated police policy by not turning on body camera

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Metro Police Department said an officer violated department policy last week when he failed to turn on his body-worn camera during his encounter with Scottie Scheffler, the world’s No. 1 golfer, outside the PGA championship.

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Police arrested Scheffler on charges including second-degree assault of a police officer early on Friday morning. In a statement shared after his release, Scheffler said the arrest stemmed from “a very chaotic situation” and “a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do.”

Police release video of arrest

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT May 23: Authorities released a pair of videos showing police interactions with Scheffler before and during his arrest on Friday.

In a 55-minute video from a police dashcam, Scheffler can be seen being escorted by officers following his arrest. A second, 4-minute video taken from a pole camera across the street shows the scene from further away.

Authorities said a motorcoach bus hit and killed John Mills, who was working the PGA Championship, just after 5 a.m. Friday. About an hour later, Scheffler showed up and tried to get into Valhalla Golf Course ahead of his tee time.

In a police report, authorities said he refused to comply with directions from an officer directing traffic, Detective Bryan Gillis, and ended up dragging and injuring the officer. In a police form released Thursday, Gillis said he stopped Scheffler and told him that he could not go into the golf course because PGA personnel had stopped a bus at the gate.

“He demanded to be let in, and proceeded forward against my directions,” Gillis said in the form. “I was dragged/knocked down by the driver. I then proceeded to arrest the driver.”

The videos released Thursday do not show Scheffler’s initial encounter with police. Mayor Craig Greenberg earlier said that authorities do not have any video showing that interaction.

Police determined that Gillis should have had his body-worn camera on before Scheffler’s arrest. Authorities said he failed to turn the camera on due to “confusion in the (area) at the time” coupled with “his sense of urgency in responding to the fatal MVA (motor vehicle accident) and expediting traffic for the PGA Championship.”

Police Chief Jaquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said Gillis “has received corrective action” for violating department policy.

Officer violated department policy, chief says

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT May 23: Police Chief Jaquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said the officer involved in the arrest, Detective Bryan Gillis, violated LMPD policy when he failed to turn on his body camera on Friday morning.

“Det. Gillis did not have his body-worn camera operationally ready as defined by our policy,” Gwinn-Villaroel said at a news conference Thursday. “We understand the seriousness of the failure to capture this interaction, which is why our officer has received corrective action for this policy violation.”

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said that authorities had no video of the initial interaction between Gillis and Scheffler, although officials will release two other videos on Thursday: one captured by a fixed pole camera across the street and another from the dashcam of a police car.

He acknowledged Thursday that “activating body-worn cameras is critically important for our police department to have evidence, to maintain the community’s trust, to be transparent.”

Original report: At an 11:30 a.m. news conference Thursday, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg and Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Jaquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel will give an update about an internal investigation into the arrest.

“All currently available video footage regarding the incident will be released,” officials said.

Scheffler’s attorney, Steven Romines, told The Athletic that pole camera footage of the arrest will be made public and will be consistent with statements made by Scheffler about the incident, which left a police officer injured. A police spokesperson earlier told ESPN that the detective involved in the case, Bryan Gillis, failed to activate his body camera before Scheffler’s arrest.

“From my understanding, based on the facts I am aware of right now, I understand why bodycam may not have been turned on at the initial contact between Officer Gillis and Mr. Scheffler,” Greenberg said Tuesday, according to ESPN. “I still have questions about why it was not on during Mr. Scheffler’s arrest.”

Under LMPD’s body-worn camera policy, officers are required to activate cameras “prior to engaging in all law enforcement activities and encounters,” with exceptions only for when their cameras are “docked for uploading following a tour of duty,” the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

In a police report, authorities said Gillis was directing traffic outside the Valhalla Golf Course following a fatal collision earlier in the day when Scheffler pulled up, trying to get into the course. Gillis tried to direct Scheffler but he “refused to comply and accelerated forward, dragging Detective Gillis to the ground,” according to the report. Gillis was taken to a hospital with injuries to his left wrist and knee.

Scheffler said Friday that he did not intend to disregard police instructions. Romines said the golfer was going to Valhalla to get ready for his tee time and hadn’t realized that traffic patterns had changed outside the golf course due to the earlier crash.

He told that his client “did not intentionally do anything wrong.”

“He was doing exactly what they told him to do,” he said, adding that Scheffler plans to plead not guilty to charges.

Scheffler is set to be arraigned on charges on June 3, WAVE-TV reported.

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