William Bryan Jennings, a senior investment banker with Morgan Stanley, has been placed on leave after Connecticut police arrested him for allegedly stabbing a taxi driver with a pen after yelling racial slurs at the Middle Eastern man, according to a Reuters report.
Jennings, who helps head Morgan Stanley’s North American fixed-income capital markets unit, was arrested last week at his home in Darien, Connecticut and charged with several crimes, including assault, larceny, and intimidation by bias or bigotry, otherwise known as a hate crime.
Sources indicate that the investment banker was released after posting bail and he is scheduled to appear in court later this week.
The alleged dispute occurred in December 2011, when Jennings took a cab ride late at night from Manhattan to his $2.3 million home, which was about 45 miles away.
When the driver and Jennings reached the home, the driver claims that an inebriated Jennings argued about paying the fare. Police claim that the two had previously agreed on a $204 fare, but Jennings claims that the driver instead demanded $300 for the ride.
And, while the two parties do not agree on the terms of the agreement, their stories about what happened later that night also differ.
According to a police report, the taxi driver started driving around the city looking for a police officer, so that he could have an officer resolve the disagreement. According to Jennings’ criminal defense attorney, however, the driver was recklessly speeding and threatening to take Jennings back to New York.
Next, according to the driver, Jennings began yelling racial slurs and threatening the driver. He then allegedly stabbed the driver through an open partition with a pen knife. When the driver tried to close the gap, the 47-year-old banker allegedly stabbed him in the hand.
It seems that Jennings and his lawyer do not dispute that the stabbing took place, but they claim that Jennings was only acting in self-defense. In addition, Jennings also “categorically denies” that he used racial slurs.
After the stabbing incident, the driver apparently stopped the car, and Jennings ran the remaining 1.5 miles back to his Darien home. The driver sought medical attention later that night, and received six stitches for his wound.
The incident comes as an embarrassment to both Morgan Stanley and its star banker, who has worked with the firm for almost 20 years. Sources did not say when, or if, Jennings would return to his work.