Source: CNN

High ranking police officials in Louisville, Kentucky, have privately voiced concerns that the felony charge against world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler – who reportedly tried to drive around the scene of a fatal crash – is excessive, a source familiar with the discussions told CNN.

It’s the first indication some top brass at the Louisville Metro Police Department believe the charges against Scheffler should be reduced.

The 27-year-old golfer was attempting to drive to the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club at about 6 a.m. on May 17 when he came to the scene of a fatal crash. He injured a police officer who was directing traffic and was then detained and arrested, according to police.

Scheffler was charged with felony second-degree assault on a police officer, along with lesser charges of third-degree criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic, according to Jefferson County court records. He was released from jail and returned to the golf course for his tee time in the second round of the major tournament.

In a statement last week, Scheffler said he proceeded as directed and “there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do.”

Scheffler’s attorney, Steven Romines, told CNN in a statement Friday he plans to plead not guilty to the charges.

During a recent meeting, multiple Louisville police officials discussed the charges against Scheffler, and the group agreed that the felony charge seems excessive given the details of the case, according to the source with firsthand knowledge of the meeting.

It is unclear whether they have discussed those opinions with the county attorney prosecuting the case and how that may ultimately affect the charging decision.

“As we have stated previously, no decisions have been made regarding the prosecution of the case involving Mr. Scheffler,” said Josh Abner, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Attorney’s office. “We continue to gather information and will review and proceed accordingly.”

Police to hold Thursday news conference

Louisville police will hold a news conference Thursday to address the case and are expected to release additional video of the arrest from a traffic pole camera. It is unclear if the initial encounter between Scheffler and the detective was captured on video.

Police will investigate whether Det. Bryan Gillis, whose body camera was not turned on, followed department protocols during the incident, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg said at a news conference Tuesday.

“I think that’s critically important that we do that, not just in high profile events like took place on Friday, but on a regular basis,” Greenberg added. “And if policies are not being followed, there will be transparency about that. There will be action taken.”

O’Connell’s office is facing growing pressure from other local officials to reassess the charges against Scheffler.

Louisville Councilmember Anthony Piagentini, who represents the district where Scheffler was arrested, told CNN he believes the case is being overcharged.

“I think the charges should either be dropped entirely or at least be dropped down to a very, very tiny misdemeanor,” Piagentini said. “I don’t know every piece of evidence, but I know enough to say the officer was trying to do his job, Mr. Scheffler was trying to do his job, and an unfortunate circumstance happened.”

Piagentini said he found it strange O’Connell showed up to court Monday to argue against delaying the arraignment, which Romines requested because of a scheduling issue the attorney was facing.

“That’s such a minor procedural detail,” Piagentini said, adding that O’Connell typically would have a different member of his team argue such a motion in court. “His actions have indicated he’s treating this case differently, and he shouldn’t.”

CNN also has reached out to the Louisville Metro Police Department for comment.

Scheffler is scheduled to play Thursday in the Charles Schwab Challenge, in Fort Worth, Texas. He has a 1:45 p.m. ET tee time.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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