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Louisville prosecutor drops all four charges against Scottie Scheffler

Louisville prosecutor drops all four charges against Scottie Scheffler

A Louisville prosecutor dropped all charges Wednesday against Scottie Scheffler who had been accused of disobeying and injuring a police officer ahead of his second round of the PGA Championship.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell said Wednesday that there was not enough evidence to move forward with the case against Scheffler, who earlier this month had been charged with four counts, including second-degree assault of a police officer, which was a felony. The charges were dropped with prejudice, meaning they cannot be filed again at any time.

“Mr. Scheffler’s actions, and the evidence surrounding their exchange during this misunderstanding, do not satisfy the elements of any criminal offenses,” O’Connell said.

The end of Scheffler's legal saga capped a bizarre and unprecedented six-week stretch that included a second Masters title, the birth of his first child and international intrigue following his stunning predawn arrest.

Police initially said that Scheffler disregarded an officer’s instructions on May 17 when he tried to enter Valhalla Golf Club at about 6 a.m. local time, ahead of his second round of the PGA. With tensions already high because of a pedestrian fatality earlier that morning near the course, detective Bryan Gillis said that Scheffler disobeyed his instructions to stop his courtesy SUV and then accelerated forward, causing lacerations to Gillis’ knee and wrist. Scheffler was placed in handcuffs, booked at the jail downtown and spent about an hour in a holding cell. He was released without bail in time to play his second round, when he shot 66 amid much fanfare and calls from the crowd of “Free Scottie!”

Scheffler said afterward that the incident was “chaotic” and a “big misunderstanding.”

“Based upon the totality of the evidence, my office could not move forward in the prosecution of the charges filed against Mr. Scheffler,” O’Connell said Wednesday during a court hearing. “Mr. Scheffler’s characterization that this was a ‘big misunderstanding’ is corroborated by the evidence.”

Last week, Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg and LMPD chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel released the results of a preliminary investigation, including two videos of the arrest, but indicated at the time that charges against Scheffler would not be dropped. There was no footage of the initial interaction between Scheffler and Gillis, who did not activate his body-cam device and was later reprimanded for what was a violation of department policy.

“We respect the County Attorney’s decision, and we respect the judicial process,” the LMPD said in a statement.

Scheffler’s attorney, Steve Romines, had previously said that Scheffler would plead not guilty and would not accept a plea deal. Before the charges were thrown out, Scheffler was slated to be arraigned in Louisville next Monday.

“We are obviously real pleased with the result,” Romines said.

Romines added that Scheffler was not interested in any counterclaim against Louisville police.

“He wants to move on,” Romines said.

Scheffler, the top-ranked player in the world, tied for eighth at the PGA and followed it up last week with a tie for second at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He is scheduled to play next week’s Memorial Tournament before the U.S. Open.

“As I stated previously, this was an unfortunate misunderstanding,” Scheffler said in a statement posted on social media. “I hold no ill will toward Officer Gillis. 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. This was a severe miscommunication in a chaotic situation.”