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Alleged Victim: Former Cop Acted Like 'Jerk' Before Assault

But one witness account says fault may not lie with the retired Southampton Village police officer.

Witness statements and other documents obtained from Southampton Town Justice Court Friday shed more light on what happened Jan. 31 between retired Southampton Village Police Sgt. Darren Gagnon and a Bridgehampton man he is accused of assaulting at a bar.

Gagnon, 51, of Shirley, was charged with assault in the third degree, a misdemeanor, after Southampton Town police said they were called to a fight at Bobby Van's restaurant at 6:06 p.m.

The alleged victim, 42-year-old Craig Cardillo, gave a statement to police, as did four others who were there in Bridgehampton that night.

In a notarized statement to Det. James Mazzio dated Jan. 31, Cardillo said he had arrived at the bar inside Bobby Van's at 4:30 p.m. to meet friends. He said after being there for a while, a man he never met before approached Robert Ranum, the superintendent of Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton. The man — who he later learned was Gagnon — was giving Ranum a hard time about not calling him back, Cardillo said, adding, "He was really acting like a jerk. He came over and did this a couple of times."

Deanna Annis, of Southampton, told police that at one point she saw Cardillo walking up and down the length of the bar saying things like, "This guy's a d---, I'm gonna f--- him up, smash his f----- head."

A deposition from James McNally, of Water Mill, says that after Cardillo and Gagnon argued, the bartender, Gerald Phair, took Cardillo outside to "cool off."

Phair said in his deposition that when Gagnon was arguing with Ranum, Cardillo told Gagnon to "calm down and stop yelling."

Cardillo came back after Phair brought him outside, apologized, and sat down, according to McNally and Phair's statements.

According to her deposition, Annis said that after Cardillo returned, he "kept taunting" Gagnon. No other witness statements corroborate that.

McNally said that 10 minutes after Cardillo returned from outside, Gagnon started to roll up his sleeves, came over again, and punched Cardillo three times — knocking him unconscious with the first punch.

Phair said he saw Gagnon "run from the other end of the bar yelling" and punch Cardillo in the head. Ranum described it as "three straight square shots with his left fist, which was closed, in the jaw."

Ranum said he saw Cardillo's head hit a beam at the end of the bar before Gagnon threw the last two punches.

"Craig fell to the floor motionless," Phair said. "I then called 911."

McNally said he and another man pulled Gagnon off Cardillo, and Gagnon began "challenging" everyone.

Annis told police that she saw "Craig and Darren were fighting and choking each other out."

Cardillo said he recalls telling Gagnon to "go back and sit on his stool and knock it off" when he approached a third time. "The next thing I know, I was on the ground," he said.

Ranum said a number of Bridgehampton Fire Department volunteers were at Bobby Van's, and they assisted Cardillo. He was taken by ambulance to Southampton Hospital.

Cardillo said that when he came to he knew he had been knocked out, but had no idea what happened. His tooth was knocked out, his lip was split open, his throat hurt and he was having trouble swallowing, he said.

According to a Southampton Hospital spokeswoman, Cardillo was discharged two days after.

A document signed by police officer Edward Henderson states that Gagnon told him, in substance, "I thought he was about to take a swing at me so I punched him first!" and "I take full responsibility for my actions."

There was no further statement from Gagnon. When reached by Patch the day after the incident, Gagnon said, on the advice of his attorney, he has no comment.

Annis told police, "I know Darren was a cop. I have to say Darren was so not at fault here tonight. This guy Craig was so abusive and acting like a total d---." She further described him as "drunk, abusive and horrifying."

Justice Edward Burke Sr. issued an order of protection directing Gagnon not to come in contact with Cardillo and to surrender any and all weapons and firearms he owns.

Gagnon is due to appear in Southampton Town Justice Court on Feb. 27.

jen February 16, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Loser. Moron. Jerk. Doink. Grow up. You're a cop, obey and uphold the law. Grown men shouldn't act like kids on a playground.
Starks February 16, 2013 at 12:29 PM
In NY attempted murder carries a minimum of 8.3 and a maximum of 25 years. The DA should push for the maximum considering the premeditation and the obvious threat to society. Ex chief Wilson has some 'splainin to do as well.
Preliator February 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Won't happen, the filthy corrupt cops and DA will protect this loser; he'll get a slap on the wrist. The only way to make him pay is civilly.
ARCH STANTON February 16, 2013 at 03:07 PM
HEY PRELIATOR, I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT YOU HAD A COMPUTER IN YOUR JAIL CELL. TO SAY THAT ALL FILTHY COPS AND THE DA ARE CORRUPT, TELLS ME THAT YOU MUST HAVE A RAP SHEET A MILE LONG TO FEEL THAT WAY. THE POLICE DID THEIR JOB BY ARRESTING HIM AND THEN IT WILL BE DECIDED BY A JURY AS TO THE PUNISHMENT.
Deanna Annis February 16, 2013 at 05:02 PM
I am quoted in this article giving a wittness account as to what I "saw" or thought I saw. I have subsequently learned that the man who I thought was Mr. Cardillo, was NOT the man with Darren Gagnon in a head lock but rather a third party who intervened. I never said I saw one punch thrown or landed because I didn't, I did however attest to what I perceived to be Mr. Cardillo being agitated and mumbling as he walked up and down the bar. What followed was I believed Mr. Cardillo had Darren in a headlock on the other side of the bar, and so to my way of thinking, he fought his way out of that situation, I was however, mistaken. Deanna Annis
Charles Clampet February 16, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Lies, lies, and lies. Tell it like it is. The truth shall set you free. Playing with the devil is not what you want. Anyone who gave a statement remember you signed it. Changing your statement now tells the juror's not to believe you. Remember we have to answer to a higher power.
GOLD FINGER February 16, 2013 at 06:27 PM
I am just so happy Gus was not involved or hurt. VANS is a tough place not for the timid. Btw Gerald is the best bartender in the place and the nicest guy too. Party on BV
highhatsize February 16, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Interesting. Previous accounts don't attribute ANY aggressive behavior to the victim and, as a matter of fact, the muttering of threats that is herein attributed to the victim was earlier attributed to the cop. Although the culpability of the cop isn't placed in doubt (despite his attempt to cover his ass by claiming that the victim was about to swing on him), his behavior isn't quite so blatantly anti-social in this latest rendition.
Preliator February 16, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Not even so much as a ticket loser. Now go take your meds.
ARCH STANTON February 17, 2013 at 05:16 PM
HEY PREL, YOU DON'T ACTUALLY THINK ANYONE BELIEVES THAT. ANYONE THAT HAS SO MUCH HATRED FOR THE POLICE AND D.A.'S OFFICE, HAS TO HAVE AN UNDERLYING MOTIVATION. DO YOU HAVE A VENDETTA TOWARDS LAW ENFORCEMENT?
TRUTH February 17, 2013 at 05:37 PM
@ Ms. Annis - The truth shall set you free ! You were "MISTAKEN" on all counts.... Now, you can go to the Police and revise your complete false statement that you made & have it notorized ASAP. Then you can contact the editor / author of this article and have him issue a correction ASAP. And, for good karma you should apologize to the victim and his family the next time you see him, that is is BV's ever lets you in their restaurant again !
Art Lynch February 21, 2013 at 02:11 AM
Not to worry! After reading this "story" and comments, it's obvious no further investigation is required. The alleged "perp" was a retired cop?? Well, then, shouldn't we just presume he's merely reflecting the "filth" and "corruption" of our criminal justice/law enforcement system?? Everyone seems to have varying accounts of what transpired at Bobby Van's. No matter. Apparently at the offices of Patch they were celebrating "National Enquirer Day" and thus decided to conduct the "trial" on these pages. Hang 'im!!! Case closed!!!
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) February 21, 2013 at 04:55 AM
If you haven't seen the update on this story, here it is: http://southampton.patch.com/articles/witness-now-says-she-did-not-see-alleged-assault-victim-grappling-with-gagnon
ARCH STANTON February 22, 2013 at 06:58 PM
HEY ART, WHY WOULD YOU BLAME SOUTHAMPTON PATCH FOR SOME IGNORANT COMMENTS MADE ON THIS BOARD? I REALLY DO ENJOY READING HOW IRRATIONAL SOME PEOPLE CAN BE. IT'S INTERESTING TO OBSERVE THE LOGIC OF OTHERS. ALTHOUGH I DO AGREE WITH YOU, IT REMINDS ME OF THE MOVIE HANG 'EM HIGH.

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