Scheffler's Arrest Sparks Questions

World's top golfer could be a victim or could have received preferential treatment—or both
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2024 5:40 PM CDT
Scheffler's Arrest Sparks Questions
Emily Ferrando wears a T-shirt she bought in the parking lot in support of Scottie Scheffler during the second round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Valhalla Golf Club on Friday in Louisville.   (AP Photo/Matt York)

Questions being raised Saturday about the arrest of the world's No. 1 golfer included whether Scottie Scheffler received preferential treatment from law enforcement or was overcharged, as well as what the arrest says about Louisville police and the city's ability to attract major events in the future. Less was said about John Mills, 69, who was struck by a shuttle bus and killed Friday morning while walking outside the course at Valhalla Golf Club, per the Louisville Courier Journal. "He liked to stay busy in retirement," Mills' family said in a statement. "We love him and will miss him." Reaction covers:

  • Possible star treatment: "A man drags a cop with his vehicle and hospitalizes him. He's arrested ... charged with a felony ... and then immediately released so he can make his tee time? Did I get that right?" Ricky L. Jones, a University of Louisville professor, posted on X, per the AP. "Something is wrong in America," said Jamal Bryant of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church near Atlanta, which hosted the funeral of Roger Fortson the same day. "You have respect for a golfer, but you don't have respect for (Fortson) and for a person who has given their life to this nation."

  • The police: The Louisville department has been under scrutiny generally and a federal investigation since officers killed Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, in 2020. They brought a falsified warrant to her apartment. A Justice Department report issued last year said the city's officers employ excessive force and carry out searches based on invalid warrants. Black drivers, it said, were more likely to be searched during traffic stops. "It's just another bad look for the city," said a fan at the PGA Tournament on Friday. "I'd want to understand what the cop was trying to do. But it's sad." Louisville's mayor said there's no police body camera footage of the golfer's interaction with the officer, saying that's standard for traffic assignments.
  • Potential for change: In an opinion piece in the Courier Journal, Terrance Sullivan writes of the deference involved when the subject of possible police misbehavior is a person of privilege. It's possible, he says, that a famous white person acted as if the rules didn't apply to him. Perhaps this case will make more acknowledge that police sometimes are too aggressive and that their word for what happened shouldn't automatically be accepted, he writes. Comedian Megan Gailey posted: "The best way to get the rich whites against the cops is for them to arrest the number 1 golfer on Earth." Sullivan and writers of letters to the editor cautioned against judging the police response before all facts about the case are public.
The Wall Street Journal breaks down the chaos here, and Scheffler tells what he was thinking in his jail cell here. (More Scottie Scheffler stories.)

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