Trooper Allegedly Detained Ex Under False Pretense of Mental Health Issues; Violent Arrest Video Surfaces

Ronald K. Davis, 37, was arrested on Sept. 21 and now faces multiple charges

Keith Srakocic/AP
Keith Srakocic/AP

A Pennsylvania state police trooper has been suspended and faces criminal charges after authorities allege he forcibly arrested his ex-girlfriend and had her involuntarily committed to a mental health facility under false pretenses.

Ronald K. Davis, 37, was arrested on Sept. 21 and charged with felony strangulation, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and official oppression, the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office announced in a press release.

According to a probable cause affidavit shared by the D.A.’s office and reviewed by PEOPLE, Davis, who has been a state police trooper since 2015, asked his fellow troopers on Aug. 21 to have the woman committed after alleging she sent him text messages in which she threatened suicide.

In the press release, prosecutors noted that Davis "is married with a family in Dauphin County," and that the alleged victim is a woman with whom he had an "intimate relationship."

Since it was a personal matter, Davis was advised to contact Dauphin County Crisis Intervention. Once the order was approved, a fellow trooper heard Davis saying “I’ll take care of it myself,” the affidavit alleges, before he’s seen on security footage leaving the PSP station with the commitment papers.

Davis, who was off duty at the time, then drove 11 miles to a state forest to confront his ex-girlfriend without waiting for other troopers to arrive, according to the affidavit. There, Davis allegedly tried to arrest her and asked a bystander to record the encounter.

<p>Dauphin County District Attorney's Office</p> Ronald Keith Davis

Dauphin County District Attorney's Office

Ronald Keith Davis

“In addition, Trooper Davis undertook this action after being told by a state police supervisor that on-duty members would handle the situation and that his assistance was not needed,” the affidavit states.

At one point in the footage, which was made public by the D.A.’s office, Davis appears to be sitting on top of the woman and attempting to restrain her on the ground, while the woman is heard saying "I can't breathe" several times, according to the affidavit.

Throughout the video, the woman struggles to free herself and appears to “genuinely lack understanding on why she is being restrained,” the affidavit states. “While being restrained, Davis can be heard informing her that the police will explain it to her when they arrive.”

She was left with bruises and suffered injuries that were consistent with being thrown to the ground, according to the affidavit.

The woman was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility for five days, the affidavit states. However, medical workers reportedly said she did not display any suicidal thoughts or overt psychosis during that time.

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In an interview with troopers after her Aug. 26 release, the woman reportedly described her four-month relationship with Davis, during which she claimed he made threatening statements such as, “I know you’re not crazy, I’ll paint you as crazy,” the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, investigators reviewed the text messages exchanged between the pair and determined that the purportedly suicidal texts from the woman that Davis reported were part of a larger argument about their relationship that occurred two days before the incident caught on video.

“Taken in context, the texts revealed her frustration with Trooper Davis and his controlling behavior … not a true desire to harm herself,” the affidavit states.

Davis was being held in the Dauphin County Prison without bail, prosecutors said. It’s unclear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.

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