YouTube video

Shocking video of Pennsylvania State Trooper Ronald K. Davis wrestling his girlfriend, Michelle Perfanov, to the ground has opened the lid on a case of clear domestic abuse buttressed by state power. Davis, who is married, allegedly lied to his fellow officers and personally arrested Perfanov in order to have her involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward after Perfanov tried to end their four-month relationship. Davis has since been charged with false imprisonment, assault, strangulation and official oppression. Although he was warned by fellow officers to not take matters into his own hands Davis used carefully curated text messages to obtain the order, tracked Perfanov down, assaulted her, and placed her in custody. Police Accountability Report examines the case.

Production: Stephen Janis, Taya Graham
Post-Production: Stephen Janis


Taya Graham:  Hello, my name is Taya Graham, and thank you for joining me for this breaking news update from the Police Accountability Report. Shocking video has been released of a Pennsylvania state trooper named Ronald K. Davis who has been charged with strangulation, false imprisonment, official misconduct in office, assault, and the forcible involuntary commitment of his girlfriend. Take a look at this video.


Speaker 1:  Absolutely not. What is wrong with you? Would you do this? Would you? [Inaudible]. Okay, please let me go. You just called the cops on me. You’re a cop. You’re a fucking pussy. What the fuck is wrong with you? I’ve lived all over the world and not one time has anyone ever come up, tackled me, attacked me, and called the cops on me for existing in the woods. But if you want to sit on me and you call the cops on me for what?

Speaker 2:  [Inaudible]

Speaker 1:  For what? Oh, because I’m around a sociopath who says he can do whatever the he fucking want. Women are objects, he can fuck whoever he wants. I’d be happy to tell them that.

Speaker 2:  [Inaudible]

Speaker 1:  You’re insane. You’re absolutely insane. You can’t just walk up to someone and attack them and then call the cops on them and say you’re going… That’s not okay. Get off of me. You’ve just called the cops on me for existing. You don’t give a shit about anything except yourself. And if this is caring, you have a very fucked up, delusional way of expressing it. Get off of me. I didn’t do anything [smacking sound]. I didn’t do anything wrong except disagree with you [shuffling].

Let me go. You can’t just tackle me like that. Get off of me [shuffling]. I can’t breathe. I can’t –

Speaker 2:  Don’t bite me.

Speaker 1:  Please let me go.

Speaker 2:  No.

Speaker 1:  Please let me go.

Speaker 2:  No.

Speaker 1:  Please let me go. Can I just sit up?

Speaker 2:  No.

Speaker 1:  I can’t breathe. Why won’t you listen to that? Just please not let him put anything on my name or my record? I didn’t do anything. That’s all I have because I didn’t do anything.

Speaker 2:  I don’t think that’s the situation.

Speaker 1:  Huh?

Speaker 2:  I don’t think that’s the situation. Nobody’s here to hurt you at all.

Speaker 1:  Then why are you here [shuffling]? I didn’t do anything wrong.

Speaker 2:  Watch your antenna, dudes.

Speaker 1:  Please. Please. I didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t take me here.

Speaker 2:  Stop pinching me.

Speaker 1:  What did I do? Please stop. Get me a [inaudible] treated like a human being, please? Can you do that? Can I stand here and put my things together? You can watch me all you want. You can watch me all you want. That’s not fair. I didn’t do anything wrong to get away from you. I don’t understand.

Speaker 2:  Relax.

Speaker 1:  I can’t relax. You just called the cops on me for existing because I didn’t like your [inaudible]. Jesus, dude. Come on [object hits the ground]. What the fuck? Why are you treating me like I’m a criminal? I didn’t do anything. I just want to be able to stand.

Speaker 2:  You call them back and find out where they are.

Speaker 1:  I just wouldn’t be able to stand. This isn’t fair. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. I just left. I don’t understand. I don’t understand. Please stop. Please stop so I can get the hair out of my face [shuffling]. That would be really nice. Please.

Can I just get the hair out of my face? I can’t go anywhere. The cops are on their way anyway, but I don’t even know what I did. Please. Please. Please. Come on. What did I do? This is not fair. Can I stand up, please? I can’t breathe again. Okay? Can I stand here?

Speaker 2:  Yes.

Speaker 1:  Can I just stand and get my arms back?

Speaker 2:  Yep.

Speaker 1:  Well, what’s going to happen here? Well, what did you do? Just attack me. What is going on? What is happening?

Speaker 2:  The police will explain it to you.

Speaker 1:  Why? What the fuck? I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything. Why are the cops coming for me?

Speaker 2:  To help you.

Speaker 1:  To help me with what? You? [Sound of tires on gravel].


Taya Graham:  Now, if you took note as I do, she sounds clear headed and surprisingly reasonable during this encounter. Stephen, what did you note?

Stephen Janis:  Okay, so I read the affidavit, which outlined the charges, and it all started with a, I guess, this trooper was dating this young woman and she’s decided she was done with it. She wanted to leave. He locked her belongings and took away her trailer, which she was living in, and locked that up so she couldn’t get in. So she was desperate. She wanted to leave the area of Pennsylvania he was in and move to another city, and he was looking to prevent it. That’s what precipitated this.

They got into an argument via text, and he used those texts to say that she was suicidal and swear out a false – Let me say false – Affidavit for her involuntary commitment. He then executed that warrant, which we’re showing you right now, that execution, and did it without any approval of the State Trooper barrack where he worked. It was a completely very scary misuse of police force. Let’s take another look at the video and watch carefully how brutal he is. And ask yourself this question: why did he record this?

Taya Graham:  Now, this incident traces back to a somewhat turbulent relationship that he had with the victim. Ronald K. Davis is a married man with a family, and he had his ex-girlfriend living on a piece of the property he had in the woods. Her camper was there. When she expressed her desire to no longer be in a relationship with him and move to the city, he locked her out of her camper, withheld her belongings, and even threatened to paint her as crazy. Take a look at these allegations. Stephen, talk us through some of these allegations.

Stephen Janis:  I mean, what happened was that she was involuntarily committed, and then she went for an interview at the State Trooper barrack where he worked. She said, hey, I never wanted to kill myself. There were no exigent circumstances here. The troopers looked at the text message and said, yeah, and also spoke to the people in the medical facility, said, yeah, she is not a person who wants to kill herself. This is all about his being upset with her ending the relationship. They went through all the texts.

Actually, after he swore out for the involuntary commitment against her, the state troopers there had said, we will execute this. You should not be involved in this. He said, no, I’ll handle it. Walked out. Then he enlisted a civilian, got into a car, and then for some reason had the civilian record this, which we’re showing you on the screen now. He really, I think, felt that he could use the criminal justice system to his advantage. Very scary in that sense, because a young woman ended up spending 72 hours involuntarily committed.

I’m not sure why police investigated this, but they actually did a very thorough job. If you look at the allegations, it was a very clear investigation and really, really, really damning.

Taya Graham:  I do have to say that the investigation that was done was excellent. However, I think because of the incredibly damning video evidence, an investigation was absolutely necessary. Can you imagine, 72 hours locked up involuntarily knowing that a man with a badge and a gun is the one responsible for it? It is an incredible form of intimidation.

Something else I wanted to note is that the police officer warned her when she was trying to break up with him that he would “paint her as crazy” and he said, F around and find out. He had the intention all along. This was a very premeditated act of using his badge to intimidate and control a young woman whose only crime was wanting to break up with him.

Now, Stephen, do you know where these charges stand right now?

Stephen Janis:  Well, right now they are in process. There has been no trial. There’s no trial date set that I can see in the system. Right now these are just allegations. Charges were not against him. I don’t know the status of employment. Didn’t say in the media reports whether he had been fired. I would assume he’d be under some internal investigation.

But for now, there are charges that will be adjudicated at a later date. I would hope, and I’m not saying this in any opinion, but that his gun and badge would be taken away at least at this point, given what he’s capable of.

Taya Graham:  Absolutely.

Stephen Janis:  I think any person would call for that kind of accountability in a case like this.

Taya Graham:  One of the reasons why it was so important for me to highlight this particular story is that it is not uncommon for there to be intimate partner violence or domestic violence within the law enforcement community. As a matter of fact, there are statistics that show between 28% to as high as 40% of law enforcement officers have engaged in some form of intimate partner violence, which is three to four times higher than the general population.

It makes me think back to the case of Jeffrey Wharton, a New Mexico Albuquerque police officer. Back in 2020, he was caught on ring camera dragging his girlfriend. It resulted in gashes and a brain bleed. And yet his girlfriend said she did not want to press charges and refused to testify against him in court, which shows you how powerful the intimidation is of someone who has a badge and a gun when you want to end a relationship or when you say you want to leave.

We’re going to give you updates on this story. Stephen, thank you so much for covering this with me. I really appreciate it. We’re going to be back with another Police Accountability Report episode this Thursday, 9:00 PM Eastern Time. I hope to see you there. And as always, be safe out there.

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Host & Producer
Taya Graham is an award-winning investigative reporter who has covered U.S. politics, local government, and the criminal justice system. She is the host of TRNN's "Police Accountability Report," and producer and co-creator of the award-winning podcast "Truth and Reconciliation" on Baltimore's NPR affiliate WYPR. She has written extensively for a variety of publications including the Afro American Newspaper, the oldest black-owned publication in the country, and was a frequent contributor to Morgan State Radio at a historic HBCU. She has also produced two documentaries, including the feature-length film "The Friendliest Town." Although her reporting focuses on the criminal justice system and government accountability, she has provided on the ground coverage of presidential primaries and elections as well as local and state campaigns. Follow her on Twitter.

Host & Producer
Stephen Janis is an award winning investigative reporter turned documentary filmmaker. His first feature film, The Friendliest Town was distributed by Gravitas Ventures and won an award of distinction from The Impact Doc Film Festival, and a humanitarian award from The Indie Film Fest. He is the co-host and creator of The Police Accountability Report on The Real News Network, which has received more than 10,000,000 views on YouTube. His work as a reporter has been featured on a variety of national shows including the Netflix reboot of Unsolved Mysteries, Dead of Night on Investigation Discovery Channel, Relentless on NBC, and Sins of the City on TV One.

He has co-authored several books on policing, corruption, and the root causes of violence including Why Do We Kill: The Pathology of Murder in Baltimore and You Can’t Stop Murder: Truths about Policing in Baltimore and Beyond. He is also the co-host of the true crime podcast Land of the Unsolved. Prior to joining The Real News, Janis won three Capital Emmys for investigative series working as an investigative producer for WBFF. Follow him on Twitter.