DAUPHIN COUNTY, Penn. – A married trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police is facing false imprisonment charges after he used physical force to detain his ex-girlfriend and then committed her to a mental health treatment program under false allegations, according to prosecutors.
On Thursday, 37-year-old Ronald Davis was taken into custody. He is accused of abusing his authority by using physical force to unlawfully takedown his former girlfriend and place her against her will into a mental health facility for several days, the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office said.
The DA’s office released the following details in a press statement:
On September 21, 2023, the Pennsylvania State Police charged Ronald K. Davis with felony strangulation, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, and official oppression. The criminal complaint and affidavit are attached.
At the time of alleged offenses, Davis was an enlisted member of the PSP assigned to Troop L. He is married with a family in Dauphin County.
The complaint charges that Davis had an intimate relationship with the victim, M.F. He obtained a involuntary commitment for her under the Mental Health Procedures Act. Without waiting for other troopers, he took a civilian acquaintance and used substantial force upon her. The acquaintance captured the use of force on video. That video is incorporated into the probable cause affidavit. The video and text communications with Davis show that M.F. was rational and the involuntary commitment was improper. As a result of Davis’ actions, M.F. was involuntarily committed for five days.
Magisterial District Judge Rebecca Margerum conducted a preliminary arraignment on September 21, 2023. She reviewed the complaint, affidavit including the video, and heard from the defendant. After the arraignment, Judge Margerum determined that no condition or combination of conditions was sufficient to protect the public from Davis. Judge Margerum committed him to Dauphin County Prison without bail.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Ronald Davis was arrested for detaining his ex-girlfriend and having her committed to a mental health treatment program under false claims. (Dauphin County District Attorney)
According to court documents released by the district attorney’s office, Davis reportedly told her, “I know you’re not crazy, I’ll paint you as crazy” leading up to the forced mental health treatment, the victim said.
Davis’s quest to have his ex-girlfriend committed for mental health treatment began Aug. 21 when he sought help from fellow troopers because he alleged the victim — identified by the district attorney as M.F. — had psyche problems, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
On advice from state police, Davis, off-duty at the time, contacted county officials by using his law enforcement email account and identified himself as a trooper. He took these steps to obtain an order of commitment after he submitted purported texts from M.F. in which she allegedly threatened suicide, according to the court docs, the New York Post reported.
Once Davis received approval for the order, he went after the woman, before uniformed troopers arrived, authorities said.
“I’ll take care of it myself,” he reportedly told them.
Davis and a civilian companion found the victim, whom he had dated for about four months, in a picnic area at a state forest where the use of force and struggle occurred, the affidavit states.
The off-duty trooper is seen sitting on top of his ex-girlfriend as she claimed he tackled her to the ground, according to the footage captured by the man with Davis and released by the DA’s office.
“You’re insane,” M.F. said while emphatically declaring she didn’t need or want his help. “You’re absolutely insane … and then you paint me to look insane.”
“Why are you treating me like a criminal?” she said before uniformed officers arrived and took her to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.
During the encounter, the woman sustained injuries to her forehead, torso, back, buttocks, forearms, knee and lower body, according to the document, the New York Post reported.
M.F. was involuntarily committed for five days and did not display any suicidal thoughts during that time, according to medical personnel. She was subsequently released on Aug. 26 and then interviewed by police.
Once investigators saw an exchange of messages between the pair, they didn’t think there was cause to force her into treatment, according to authorities.
The alleged “suicidal” messages that Davis used as evidence to have her committed appeared to be hypothetical in nature and part of an ongoing argument over their deteriorating relationship, authorities said.
“While Trooper Davis provided text messages from [the victim] … and purported them to be suicidal, he failed to provide the full context of those messages,” the affidavit said. “In fact, the text messages were the culmination of a larger, domestic dispute between he and the victim. Taken in context, the texts revealed her frustration with Trooper Davis and his controlling behavior … not a true desire to harm herself.”
The DA’s office said in the press release, “The investigators on this case conducted a very thorough investigation. The investigators/affiants are Corporal Jeffrey Goodman and Corporal Joseph M. Short of the Pennsylvania State Police. Chief Deputy District Attorney Sarah Phillips will prosecute the case.”