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Morgan Stanley Banker Charged After "Accidental" Stabbing of Taxi Driver

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Bank stocks have been on the path to recovery this year, with Goldman Sachs (GS) rising 5.2% yesterday and JP Morgan (JPM) up some 14% in 2012, but it’s not been a good week on the public relations front for bankers.
First, there were the astonishing cry-me-a-river-type responses to salary cuts documented by Bloomberg on Wednesday.
Then, today, a Morgan Stanley (MS) banker, William Bryan Jennings, was officially charged with assault, theft of services and intimidation based on race or bigotry for an alleged attack and stabbing of a Middle Eastern taxi driver who ferried him from Manhattan to his home in Darien, Connecticut, on Dec. 22 last year.
Darien Police Lt. Ronald Bussell said that according to the taxi driver, Jennings refused to pay the $200 taxi fare when they reached his home and proceed to direct racial slurs towards him, reported the Stamford Advocate.

The driver then drove with Jennings in the back seat to find a police officer to help settle the matter, Bussell said. When the driver put a hand through the cab's partition into the passenger compartment during the ride, Jennings stabbed the hand with a pen knife, Bussell said.

Jennings’ lawyer, Eugene Riccio, argued that the incident unfolded in a different manner, saying that the driver had demanded $300 for Jennings, which the latter refused to pay. The cabbie then “abducted” Jennings and drove him back towards New York City, not stopping at red lights and stop signs.

Riccio said Jennings pulled out a pen knife he uses for fishing and demanded to be let out of the car because he was fearful for his safety. On the Post Road, the cabbie tried to get the knife from Jennings and was cut while putting his hands through the window, Riccio said, adding that Jennings did not intend to hurt the driver.

Riccio also said his client never used any racial insults.
The 47 year-old Jennings, who is Morgan Stanley’s co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets, is currently out on $9,500 bail.
Indeed, perhaps neither Jennings nor the taxi driver can be blamed for this incident. Responding to this story on the banking insider website Dealbreaker, a commenter named investorcluzo snarked, “You people are missing the bigger issue here - had Mr. Gorman [James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley] not changed the expense policy, Mr. Jennings would have been able to use the car service and this never would have happened. I blame OWS.” 
(See also: Bankers Describe In Chilling Detail The Anguish They Suffer When They Don't Get Their Bonuses)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.