A married Pennsylvania State Trooper is facing a slew of charges after he allegedly fabricated claims that his ex-girlfriend was suicidal to have her involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.
Ronald Keith Davis, 37, is accused of abusing his power to forcibly detain his former partner and have her locked up after their relationship broke up, according to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office.
Disturbing footage released by authorities shows Mr Davis use a “wrestling-style” hold to arrest his former partner on 21 August as she appears to be struggling to breathe.
According to a charging document, Mr Davis had earlier told her: “I know you’re not crazy, I’ll paint you as crazy”.
Mr Davis had been in a four-month extramarital affair with the woman before the relationship fell apart, authorities say.
He then petitioned to have the woman involuntarily committed, and used his police email account to contact Dauphin County officials and submit texts claiming she had threatened to take her own life.
On 21 August, Mr Davis tracked her down with an associate identified only as “M.F.” to an isolated forest area in a state park where she was living in his camper van.
Mr Davis chases her down, sits and lies on her, before grabbing her from behind in a “wrestling-style hold” and forcing her up against a vehicle in the video.
The victim can be seen struggling in pain in the footage as she repeatedly asks why she’s being detained. As she tried to get to her feet, Mr Davis forces her back to the ground.
“You’re absolutely insane… and then you paint me to look insane,” she tells him.
As she tries to break free, Mr Davis grapples her to the ground. She can be heard telling him that she “can’t breathe” and that she hadn’t done anything wrong.
The victim seemed to “genuinely lack understanding on why she is being restrained,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Uniformed officers then arrive and take the victim to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.
She was then locked up for five days, despite not showing any signs of being suicidal, the affidavit states.
She was released on 26 August after police reviewed the text messages between the former couple.
“While Trooper Davis provided text messages… and purported them to be suicidal, he failed to provide the full context of those messages,” the affidavit stated.
“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 behaviour… not a true desire to harm herself.
Mr Davis is charged with felony strangulation, unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment, false imprisonment, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and official oppression.
Mr Davis, who authorities say is married with a family, appeared for arraignment on 21 September and is being held without bail.