City officials are investigating an alleged jail assault on State Rep. Kevin Boyle, who was arrested Friday on charges of harassment and violating a protection-from-abuse order, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said Tuesday. She declined further comment.
Contrary to news reports saying Boyle, 41, was released on his own recognizance Saturday morning, four people familiar with the situation said he was detained over the weekend pending a mental health evaluation.
The alleged attack occurred around 3 a.m. Sunday in a holding cell in the receiving room at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, where Boyle was held with about seven other men, sources said.
“He allegedly was hungry and ate one of the other guys’ food, and was beat up for doing so,’’ said a person who reported having observed the lawmaker’s injuries. “He was seen with a black eye in medical.”
Boyle’s lawyer, R. Emmett Madden, did not return phone calls.
Boyle was arrested after trying to enter his estranged wife’s house in violation of a protection-from-abuse order, according to the criminal complaint. The temporary order, signed by a Philadelphia judge in February and obtained by The Inquirer, said the lawmaker was to have no contact with his wife or children.
The Inquirer previously reported that Boyle agreed to seek mental health treatment after his arrest. He was stripped of his committee chairmanship last week, and Gov. Tom Wolf has publicly encouraged him to resign. State Rep. Jason Dawkins, who chairs the Philadelphia delegation to the state House, criticized Wolf on Tuesday, saying his comments about Boyle, “lack sympathy, genuine concern and an overall understanding of what people with mental health issues and their families go through.”
Several current and former prison staffers said normal protocol would be to notify staff of the arrival of high-profile prisoners, including public officials, so they could be placed in protective custody if necessary. No such notification was made in this case, they said.
The Philadelphia Department of Prisons has been beset by staffing shortages, unrest among prisoners, a grand-jury investigation, a federal lawsuit over conditions during the pandemic, and the highest death toll in years, including three homicides.
The Pennsylvania Prison Society, in a June letter to Prisons Commissioner Blanche Carney, flagged the Northeast Philadelphia jail’s receiving room as an area of concern, describing crowded conditions with six men in a single holding cell, sleeping on benches or on the floor.
Another man who had been arrested on drug charges was hospitalized after being assaulted in the same receiving room earlier in September, according to two people who were briefed on that incident.
City officials said that incident, too, remains under investigation.