In a shocking turn of events, Akiva Israel was found “not guilty” of all charges arising from an incident that took place involving Michael W. Reid, Jr. on April 1, 2008 at the Chestnut Hill Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both Akiva Israel and Mike Reid were students at Chestnut Hill College at the time. Mike Reid was also an active member in both the Libertarian Party and the Objectivist Party.
Details regarding the original attack can be found in very few on-line sources.
On April 2, 2008, one day after the incident took place, Robert Moran, a Staff Writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote the following in an article entitled “Man Attacked, Handcuffed At Chestnut Hill Hotel”:
A 20-year-old Philadelphia man was attacked and forced to put on handcuffs in a room at the upscale Chestnut Hill Hotel, then got free and fought with his assailant down an elevator and into the lobby of the historic inn last night, police said. Akiva Israel, 24, of Middletown, N.J., was arrested after the bizarre incident and is expected to be charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment and related offenses, police said this morning. The two men have known each other for several months, police said, and met at or went together to the hotel, which is popular with celebrity guests. In a fourth-floor room at the hotel at 8229 Germantown Ave., the alleged assailant made the younger man put on a pair of handcuffs, police and a witness said. He also attempted to place shackles on the younger man's legs, police said. Why the two men went to the room was not explained in a preliminary police report. The victim said he had met the man to see or receive important information, according to hotel guest Kristian Sedano, 22, who is from Miami. In the room, the victim allegedly told Sedano that the older man threatened him with a knife and ordered him to put on handcuffs and meditate." Somehow, the victim was able to free himself and fought off his attacker," said Officer Christine O'Brien. Sedano said the victim told him that he struck his attacker twice in the head with a baseball bat and yelled for help. "I don't know why there were bats in the room," Sedano said. The two men fought in an elevator and into the lobby of the hotel, which boasts numerous past celebrity guests including Cuba Gooding Jr., Kate Hudson and Billie Jean King. Sedano was in the lobby and saw the two men struggling on the floor. He said he saw a knife and bat nearby and moved the weapons away from the men. He said he then helped hold down the older man until police arrived. "Look at the notes! Look at the notes!" the alleged attacker said, Sedano recalled. "Is it the cure for cancer?" the victim replied, with a pair of handcuffs dangling from one wrist, Sedano recalled. Sedano said the victim told him he was able to escape because he faked locking the handcuffs to both wrists. Both men were covered in blood. The victim was taken to Chestnut Hill Hospital and treated for a stab wound to his right arm and cuts to his hands, O'Brien said. The alleged assailant was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center and treated for a head wound, O'Brien said. A woman answering the phone at the hotel declined to comment.
News regarding the original incident was also published on April 10, 2008 in the following article by Jennifer Katz entitled "CH Hotel Scene Of Violent Attack" which is located at http://www.chestnuthilllocal.com/issues/2008.04.10/news1.html.
Armed with a collection of weapons, including two baseball bats, two knives, duct tape, two chains, leg shackles, handcuffs and two padlocks, a 24-year-old New Jersey man was arrested for attacking his companion at the Chestnut Hill Hotel on April 1. According to Captain Winton Singletary of the 14th District, it appeared Akiva Israel, of Middletown, N. J. intended to kill 20-year-old Michael Reid of South Philadelphia. I think he took him there to kill him,” Singletary said. Reid told police that Israel struck him with a baseball bat in a room of the hotel at 8229 Germantown Ave. Reid booked the room and told police that he and Israel had known each other for a couple of months. Singletary said sources at the hotel believed the two men were a couple, although neither told police that they were romantically involved. Reid further told police that after Israel struck him with the bat, he handcuffed him and forced him to put shackles on his ankles. Reid broke free from the handcuffs and fought with Israel in the room, out of the room and into the elevator and then in the hotel lobby, where a witness called police at 6:30 p.m. Both men suffered stab wounds and were taken to Chestnut Hill Hospital. Reid was treated and released. Israel remained hospitalized until April 4 when he was transferred to police custody. “The room was full of blood,” Singletary said. The suspect also told the victim he had a gun, although there was no gun found at the scene. The room had been booked for one night. A spokesperson for the hotel released a statement on April 3 saying, “The safety of our guests and employees is our number one concern. We are fully cooperating with local authorities in the investigation of the incident.” Israel, who has no previous arrests, is being charged with aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, recklessly endangering another person, false imprisonment and several other related offenses. He remains in county jail awaiting his arraignment, scheduled for April 10, after his bail was set at $7,500.
After being found “not guilty” of all charges that were brought against him in relation to this incident, Akiva Israel posted the following on March 19, 2009 as a comment in response to the Philadelphia Inquirer article that was reprinted at phawker.com:
I am Akiva Israel and on March 4, 2009, I was found NOT GUILTY of all charges related to the incident referenced in this article that took place on April 1, 2008 at the Chestnut Hill Hotel. Mike Reid drove me to the Chestnut Hill Hotel. He came into the hotel room of his own free will. He withdrew money from his ATM to pay for his share of the room. The handcuffs and weapons were part of our usual sex play. Mike Reid enjoyed playing the role of slave and being called “Pussy Boy”. He is really into S & M. I would regularly ride him like a pony until he squealed like a pig. On this occasion, he got jealous of a friend I knew and attacked me. He then had ME arrested!! I am pretty pissed as you might expect. I will not let this matter go unaddressed. He will pay for the lies he told when he least expects it.
Since I knew Mike Reid at the time of this incident, I felt compelled to respond to Akiva Israel’s post and did so in the following comment posted to the same site on March 23, 2009:
I was Mike Reid’s friend and mentor at the time this incident took place. Mike Reid told me Akiva Israel was found not guilty of all charges. I can also confirm that Mr. Reid told me he drove Akiva Israel to the Chestnut Hill Hotel and that he went into the hotel room voluntarily but that he did so to end his association with Mr. Israel. Mike Reid did not follow my advice to end his relationship with him “on campus” and to do so quickly. He told me he planned to go to the cafe in the hotel but ended up in Akiva Israel’s room learning “meditation techniques” and did so to comply with Mr. Israel’s last requests. Mr. Reid told me the money he took from the ATM was not to pay his share of the room rental but simply because Akiva Israel told him he would be embarrassed if he didn’t have money on him. I know! It makes no sense! Mike Reid also told me he was unaware of there being any weapons in the room. I also had no knowledge of whether Mike Reid was into S & M and Mr. Reid has always denied having a sexual relationship with Akiva Israel. However, Mr. Reid did tell me that on numerous occasions during their “study sessions” that Akiva Israel slapped him in the face and that he never told him to stop doing so. Akiva Israel and Mike Reid did spend a lot of time together from January through April 1, 2008. They spoke every day and in conversations that took place for hours in the middle of the night. I am certain that in the course of their intense relationship, Akiva Israel became jealous of my role as a professional and political mentor to Mike Reid and drove a wedge between us .I am no longer Mike Reid’s friend or mentor. Although both sides wanted me to testify at the criminal trial, I did not do so.
I do hope this is the last chapter in this sordid story that has negatively affected so many people’s lives.
Dr. Tom Stevens
LPNY State Committee Member