In a motion to dismiss the case against William Bryan Jennings, charged with larceny, assault and a bias crime, his lawyer says the police application for an arrest warrant omitted important information and included false statements.
The sworn affidavit submitted by Darien Police detective Chester Perkowski was the basis on which Judge Robert Genuario signed the arrest warrant.
That affidavit, wrote Attorney Eugene Riccio of Bridgeport, "contains false statements that were made knowingly and intentionally or with reckless disregard for the truth, and also omits material facts that collectively were necessary to the determination that probable cause existed to arrest the defendant."
Jennings is accused of stabbing the cabbie with a pen knife, not paying his fare and engaging in a hate crime in alledgedly saying the cabbie, "you should go back to your country."
Jennings left the scene and the cab driver, who called Darien police on the night of the incident, could neither identify him nor the home where he was initially to be dropped off. Jennings did not contact police until after local news reports of the incident appeared. He has .
Jennings' brought an onslaught of media attention in New York and among financial publications. Statements made to police by Jennings and the taxi driver, Mohamed Ammar, .
Riccio compared the arrest warrant affidavit with other police reports, noting differences and omissions:
- The charge of second-degree intimidation by bigotry or bias relies on Ammar's Dec. 28 statement alleging that Jennings told him, "You should go back to your country." Riccio said there is no mention in a Dec. 22 police report by Darien Police Officer Thomas Whyte of Ammar making that allegation on the night of the Dec. 21 incident. Whyte wrote at the time that robbery and assault charges were the ones police would make, not mentioning the "bigotry or bias" charge. Riccio pointed out that Ammar spent an hour with Darien police and then spoke to Whyte by phone.
- Whyte's report states that Ammar told police he was stabbed "as Ammar drove away from the [Jennings'] residence." Ammar's Dec. 28 statement identified the spot as on U.S. Route 1, the Post Road.
- Whyte's report states that Jennings fled the taxi on Squab Lane—on the southwest (northbound) side oft the Darien Metro-North station—rather than on the Post Road. Ammar's Dec. 28 statement says that Jennings fled when the taxi stopped on Route 1 and that Ammar then drove "around the block" and stopped at the Darien train station parking lot (Squab Lane). Perkowski's affidavit "did not disclose this inconsistency," Riccio wrote.
- According to Perkowski's affidavit, Ammar said his passenger agreed to pay $204 for the New York-to-Darien ride, but Whyte's report only mentions that Ammar said the fare was over $100.
- Perkowski's affidavit fails to mention that Jennings tried to leave the vehicle while it was still on Knollwood Lane, driving away from Jennings' home, although Jennings recounted that part of the incident in his statement to police.
- According to Perkowski's affidavit, in a Jan. 4 interview with him and Whyte, Jennings said "he had been drinking throughout the day," but Jennings, in his own written statement to police, on Jan. 20, said he had no alcoholic drinks before 5 p.m.
- Perkowski's "affidavit [...] omits material information that would show that Mr. Ammar unlawfully restrained the defendant in his taxi and operated the taxi in a reckless manner intended by Mr. Ammar to prevent the defendant form exiting the taxi so that Mr. Ammar could return the defendant to New York City," Riccio wrote. (Ammar has denied that he threatened to or intended to take Jennings back to New York, as Jennings alleges.) Perkowski's affidavit does state that, according to Jennings, Jennings tried to leave the cab but couldn't figure out how to unlock the door, then wasn't able to leave because the cab was being driven too fast. Perkowski did not directly state in the affidavit that Jennings had said he thought he was being abducted for a trip back to New York.
- Ammar's statement on Dec. 28 omits any mention of Jennings trying to leave the vehicle. (A New York Post report, not mentioned in Riccio's motion, quoted Ammar saying he asked Jennings to close the door and told the passenger that he was going to drive into town to find police.) Jennings' own written statement to police said the cabbie would not let him leave the car.
- Perkowski wrote in the affidavit that a polygraph exam of Jennings was canceled because of Riccio's court obligations and because Riccio said he saw no benefit to Jennings in taking the examination. "This statement is purposefully misleading and false," Riccio wrote. Riccio said that Jennings initially agreed to a polygraph exam when he was told by Perkowski on Jan. 4 that Perkowski also wanted a polygraph exam for Ammar. Riccio wrote that Darien Police "reneged on their commitment to schedule a polygraph examination for Mr. Ammar."
- Perkowski was also unable to agree that charges would not be filed against Jennings if Jennings passed a polygraph examination, according to Riccio. Riccio attached a Feb. 15 letter from him to Perkowski stating that Jennings refused to take a polygraph because Perkowski could not agree to drop the investigation if Jennings passed it.
In an document attached to his motion Riccio wrote that it was was faxed to Supervising Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Weiss in state Superior Court in Stamford. Weiss could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.
Riccio's motion refers to Ammar as "Anmar," a spelling used in Perkowski's affidavit but not in other police reports and not in news accounts that quote Ammar. In quoting Riccio's motion, "Anmar" has been replaced by "Ammar."
Editor's note, 11:52 a.m.: The word "document" has been replaced with "affidavit" to make it clear that Riccio is referring to the detective's affidavit, not the warrant signed by the judge.
The documents referred to in this article and in Riccio's motion have been attached to this article.