Morgan Stanley official charged with hate crime against taxi driver

Morgan Stanley official charged with hate crime against taxi driver

William Bryan Jennings, Morgan Stanley’s bond-underwriting chief in the US, was charged with a hate crime in the stabbing of a New York City cab driver of Middle Eastern descent over a fare.

Mohamed Ammar said Jennings attacked him Dec 22 with a 2½-inch blade and used racial slurs after a 40-mile ride from New York to the banker’s $3.4 million Darien, Connecticut home.

Jennings, who had attended a bank holiday party at a boutique hotel in Manhattan before hailing the cab, refused to pay the $204 fare upon arriving in his driveway, the driver said.

The banker appeared “drunk,” the driver said, according to court documents.
Jennings told police that, while he had been drinking throughout the afternoon, he wasn’t “highly intoxicated,” according to the police report.

Ammar, a native of Egypt, said he then backed out of the driveway to seek a police officer. The banker called him an expletive and said “I’m going to kill you. You should go back to your country,” according to the report, filed in state court in Stamford.

Ammar said Jennings pulled the knife and began stabbing him through the open partition that divided the front and rear of the cab. Ammar said he tried to defend himself by using his right hand to block the opening, and then pulled over and dialed 911 again, as Jennings got out and fled, police said.

Jennings told Darien police the cab driver accidentally cut his hand while attempting to block the banker from calling the police himself on his cell phone, according to the report. His hand required more than 60 stitches, Ammar said.

The banker, who eventually fled the cab and turned himself in two weeks later after a vacation in Florida, was charged with second-degree assault, theft of services and intimidation by bias or bigotry. He faces as long as 5 years in prison on the assault charge.

Jennings was charged Feb 29. Eugene Riccio, his defense attorney, said the driver made an “exorbitant demand” closer to $300 and that he attempted to abduct his client.

“My client was the victim of a crime that night,” Riccio said, denying that his client was drunk or made any racial slurs. “He was abducted against his will from his own driveway. Fortunately he was able to escape.” Ammar denied the lawyer’s allegation.

“Why should I take him back to New York, give him a round- trip?” Ammar said. “I just want to get my money and that’s it.”

Updated : 2021-04-14 07:52 GMT+08:00