Watch CBS News

Pennsylvania state trooper accused of strangling his ex while involuntarily committing her to a psychiatric facility

CBS News Live
CBS News Pittsburgh Live

A Pennsylvania state trooper was charged with felony strangulation and several misdemeanors after he used his position in law enforcement to forcibly restrain and involuntarily commit his ex-girlfriend to a psychiatric facility, according to court documents.

Ronald K. Davis, 37, was also charged with unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, simple assault, official oppression and recklessly endangering another person. The charges stem from Aug. 21, when he petitioned for an involuntary mental health commitment for his ex-girlfriend, saying she was suicidal based on text messages he received.

Davis then used the approved commitment document to restrain her without authorization from his supervisor, according to a police affidavit.

The Dauphin County District Attorney's Office said the alleged use of force was caught on video.   

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania State Police said Monday that Davis was suspended without pay after the charges were filed on Thursday.

After Davis' arraignment on Thursday, the district attorney's office said the judge determined "that no condition or combination of conditions was sufficient to protect the public from Davis."

Jay Nigrini, an attorney for Davis, said that he was troubled by Davis being denied bail and had filed a motion to get him released on bail.

"We are confident once all of the facts come to light, Mr. Davis committed no crime but was seeking to protect a troubled young woman who was in need of immediate medical attention," he said in a phone interview Monday.

Davis located the woman and did not explain to her why she was being restrained, leading to a physical altercation in which he drove her to the ground and subdued her, according to the charging documents. The woman was committed to a psychiatric facility for 72 hours.

The charging documents state that the text messages Davis used to secure the official documentation were part of a larger context that "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."

Trooper Davis' omission was critical in the securing of the Involuntary Mental Health Commitment, the affidavit said.

Davis has been a state trooper since 2015 and is stationed in Jonestown, Pennsylvania.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.