An investment banker was charged with a hate crime Wednesday for allegedly stabbing a cab driver of Middle-Eastern descent after a dispute over the fare from Manhattan back to the banker's multimillion dollar home in Darien, Connecticut.
William Bryan Jennings turned himself in to police Wednesday for the December 22 incident. Charged with "second-degree assault, theft of services and second-degree intimidation based on race or bigotry" for allegedly calling the cabbie racial slurs, The Stamford Advocate reports, he was released on $9,500 bond and is expected in court on March 7.
Jennings' lawyer, Gene Riccio, claims his client was a "victim of abduction."
"We have a serious disagreement with the facts as portrayed by the cab driver," Riccio said, and called it "mind-boggling" that the driver hasn't been charged.
The driver had demanded an "exorbitant" $300, refusing Jennings' "reasonable" offer of $160, Riccio said.
But Darien Detective Cmdr. Ronald Bussell said Jennings became enraged and shouted the slurs when the cabby insisted he pay the $203 fare they had agreed on. When Jennings refused, the hack drove to nearby Post Road to find a cop, Bussell said.
"As he's driving down there, the victim says, the passenger tries to stab him with a knife. He puts up his hands and gets stabbed in the hand," said Bussell, adding the driver got six stitches.
Jennings then fled from the cab.
47-year-old Jennings, who works for Morgan Stanley, has different account of that night. After the driver demanded $294, Riccio tells The Darien Times, the hack said he was taking him back to Manhattan and began to speed, running red lights and stop signs. Fearing for his life, Bryan pulled out a small pen knife, which the cabbie tried to grab, stabbing himself in the hand.
Jennings also denies directing ethnically derogatory language at the driver.