Officer violated body camera rules, chief says

Scottie Scheffler arrives on the course during the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 17, 2024.

Ben Jared | PGA Tour | Getty Images

a Louisville, KYThe police detective violated department policy by failing to activate his body camera during his controversial arrest of Scottie Scheffler last week as the top golfer tried to drive into the PGA Championship venue, the city's police chief said Thursday.

Detective Bryan Gillis 'should have turned on his body-worn camera, but didn't' Louisville Police Department Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel said at a news conference.

“This officer has received corrective action for this policy violation” due to the severity of the violation, Gwinn-Villaroel said.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg announced at the press conference the release of video footage of the incident on Friday morning, which showed the moments after Gillis arrested Scheffler, 27, for allegedly attacking him with his car while the golfer was trying to kill others. vehicles drove by.

The images came from a pole camera and a dashboard camera of a police car.

The pole camera video shows Gillis running after Scheffler's car as it slowly turns from behind several large vehicles, with the detective slamming his hand or arm into the golfer's car and Scheffler immediately stopping. Gillis and other officers then pulled him out and placed him in handcuffs about 50 seconds later.

The video does not capture the seconds before Gillis reported being dragged by Scheffler's car.

Greenberg said that “activating body-worn cameras is critical for our police.”

Louisville Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, right, speaks to reporter as Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg, left, listens during a press conference on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Louisville, Ky., regarding the arrest of PGA golfer Scottie Scheffler.

Timothy D. Easley | AP

Louisville's police policy states that officers are required to “maintain their police.” [body-worn cameras] in a constant state of operational readiness” and for officers to “immediately [body-worn cameras] in recording mode before participating in any law enforcement activities or encounters.”

Some legal analysts expected the news conference to announce the reduction of charges against Scheffler. But neither the mayor nor the police chief spoke about the status of the case, other than to say they would not release any new information beyond the video footage.

“We have to respect the legal process, and that's what we're going to do,” Greenberg said.

Scheffler's attorney, Steven Romines, said after the news conference, “Scottie Scheffler did nothing wrong.”

“We are not interested in settling the case,” Romines said. “We will try, otherwise it will be rejected.”

“All the evidence coming out continues to support what Scottie has been saying all along. It was just a chaotic situation and miscommunication and he did nothing wrong.”

Louisville police were heavily criticized for the March 2020 fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor while executing a no-knock warrant at her apartment as part of an investigation into an ex-boyfriend of Taylor's who did not live with her.

Police initially said the shooting was not captured on video because officers on the team that executed the warrant were not wearing body cameras. But subsequent news reports said a photo from the crime scene showed at least one officer who participated in the raid wearing a body camera, and a second officer wearing a mount for a camera.

Taylor's shooting and the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer two months later, captured on bystander video, sparked nationwide protests over excessive use of force by police.

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The Department of Justice released a scathing report on the Louisville Police Department in March 2023, finding that the department engaged in a pattern of conduct including the use of excessive force, the unlawful execution of search warrants, unlawful stops and searches, and discrimination “against Black people in its enforcement activities. “

“For years, LMPD has employed an aggressive style of policing that it uses selectively, primarily against Black people, but also against vulnerable people throughout the city,” the DOJ said in its report.

Scheffler, who is white, is charged with second-degree assault on a police officer – a misdemeanor – third-degree misdemeanor, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic.

His arrest in Louisville came as police responded to the death of a 69-year-old man killed last week by a shuttle bus outside Valhalla Golf Club, the site of the PGA Championship.

Police said Scheffler drove on the median of a road outside the golf club and failed to comply with Gillis' orders to stop his vehicle.

Scheffler's car then “accelerated forward and dragged.” [Gillis] on the ground,” the police report said.

Gillis “suffered pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee” and was taken to a hospital, according to the report.

Scheffler was released without bail within hours and returned to the club to tee off in time for the second round of the tournament.

Scottie Scheffler passes his putter to his caddy, Ted Scott, on the eighth green during the first round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on May 16, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ben Jared | PGA Tour | Getty Images

He said his arrest was the result of a “major misunderstanding.”

“This morning I proceeded as instructed by police officers. It was a very chaotic situation, understandably given the tragic accident that had occurred earlier,” Scheffler said in a message on his official website. Instagram account.

“There was a big misunderstanding about what I thought was being asked of me,” he said. “It was never my intention to disobey the instructions.”

Scheffler's attorney, Romines, said last week that the golfer was told by another officer to drive around the other vehicles.

Romines said that “several eyewitnesses confirmed that he did nothing wrong, but simply proceeded as directed.”

“He stopped immediately upon being confronted and at no time did he attack an officer with his vehicle,” the attorney said.

Scheffler will be arraigned on June 3 and will plead not guilty, his attorney said.

Scheffler is playing in the Charles Schwab Challenge this week in Fort Worth, Texas.

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