A Pennsylvania State Police trooper is facing charges of felony strangulation and false imprisonment after he allegedly detained his ex-girlfriend in a ‘wrestling-style hold’ and committed her to a mental health facility under phony claims.
Ronald Keith Davis, 37, was arrested on September 21. He is accused of abusing his authority to have his girlfriend of four months imprisoned in a medical facility against her will.
The cop, who is married with children, petitioned for an involuntary mental health commitment for the woman after he alleged that she was suicidal, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
On Monday, August 21, Davis sought help from fellow troopers and relayed that the woman – referred to by M.F. by the district attorney, but whose full name was disclosed in the affidavit – was living in a camper on his property.
The trooper said that they had not been getting along and ‘their relationship had deteriorated.’
In an affidavit of probable cause, the Pennsylvania State Trooper was said to have abused his power as a cop to have the woman committed over false claims of suicidality
Video released by the DA’s office shows the moment he pinned the woman in an attempt to apprehend her
The woman repeatedly tells him that she cannot breathe, as Davis puts her in a ‘wrestling-style hold’
He claimed he was not allowing the woman to retrieve her belongings from the property, as she was acting erratically.
To prove his point, he displayed several text messages including those reading ‘I think I’m going to drive off a cliff’ and ‘My mental health doesn’t matter I’m a useless old stupid uneducated piece of s***.’
Ronald Keith Davis, 37, is accused of strangling his girlfriend before having her committed to a mental health facility under false pretenses
As advised by state police, Davis reached out to county officials with his police email account and identified himself as a trooper to obtain an order of involuntary commitment. He was off-duty at the time.
While he petitioned for the order, police were sent to conduct a welfare check on the victim. They checked three separate locations but could not find her.
According to the affidavit, Davis took the form, uttered ‘I’ll take care of it myself,’ and left the police station.
Assisted by a ‘civilian companion,’ he then tracked the woman to the Pennsylvania State Game Lands in Weiser State Forest and attempted to carry her to his car before she began to fight back.
Video released by the DA’s office shows the victim, who is streaked with dirt and nearly half the trooper’s size, almost freeing herself from his grip.
As she attempts to gets on her feet, Davis pulls her legs out from under her and forces her to the ground. She hits him in an attempt to fend him off, but Davis captures her in a ‘wrestling-style hold.’
She repeatedly tells the man that she can’t breathe, as noted in the affidavit.
When police arrived, the victim’s injuries were documented and she was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuykill for an evaluation.
He sought an order of involuntary commitment and showed police texts messages reading ‘My mental health doesn’t matter I’m a useless old stupid uneducated piece of s***’
After obtaining the order, he tracked the woman to a forested area and attempted to carry her to his car. Police attempted a welfare check but were unable to reach the woman before he did
The woman was committed for five days but told police a harrowing tale once she was free, detailing continuous abuse in their four-month relationship
She revealed text messages where she described being locked out of her trailer and not having access to ‘hygiene, sustenance, and living comforts’
Next, police interviewed Davis.
He restated that the woman had been making comments through text message ‘that she has no reason to live, she is a worthless piece of s***, and she is going to go end it,’ according to the affidavit. He added that she would not answer his calls.
However, he did not address the ‘methods of control’ used on his ex-girlfriend, who suffered injuries to her forehead, torso, back, buttocks, forearms, knee and lower body.
The affidavit noted that she appeared to ‘genuinely lack understanding on why she is being restrained.’
M.F. was held for an initial 72 hours upon arrival at the hospital. An officer contacted the hospital to verify if the Involuntary mental health commitment was upheld by the facility and learned that it had been.
The woman was committed for an additional two days. She did not display any suicidal thoughts during the near-week she was held.
On August 26, the woman was released and interviewed by police, only to provide a very different side of the story.
In her interview, M.F. indicated the incident stemmed from a domestic argument on August 19, according the the affidavit. She described a four-month entanglement colored with ‘differing ideological opinions and differences in roles within relationships.’
She stated that, during the course of their relationship, Davis repeatedly threatened her, saying ‘I know you’re not crazy, I’ll paint you as crazy’ and ‘I know the law.’
She also cited recent examples of the power imbalance including shutting off power to the camper where she lived and preventing access to her personal belongings.
As the relationship began to fall apart, M.F. made statements about starting over in a city and ‘could sense a confrontation building,’ as Davis ‘needed to maintain power and control,’ according to documents.
On August 28, allowed officers to photograph her text conversations with Davis. As the couple argued, Davis ‘continued to make disparaging remarks’ including comments about drug testing and how the woman was not employable.
In the messages, M.F. also described being locked out of her trailer and not having access to ‘hygiene, sustenance, and living comforts,’ according to the affidavit.
After reading the messages, police alleged that Davis ‘failed to provide the full context of those messages’ when he attempted to have the woman committed.
‘In fact, the text messages were the culmination of a larger, domestic dispute between he and the victim,’ the affidavit reads.
‘Taken in context, the texts revealed her frustration with Trooper Davis and his controlling behavior (and her desire to break off the relationship), not a true desire to harm herself.’
The criminal complaint accuses Davis of ‘knowingly or intentionally impeding the breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure to the throat or neck.’
It says he restrained her ‘in circumstances exposing the said other person to risk of serious bodily injury’ and in doing so, acted in violation of Section 2902(a)(1) of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, which refers to ‘unlawful restraint.’
Davis was charged with felony strangulation, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and official oppression.
He was remanded without bail after an arraignment on September 21.