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Taking on banks the wrong way, man fights police

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

Who hasn’t wanted to fight back against the bank? Only problem with Donald Cardinali of New Milford, police said, is that he really wanted a fight.


Donald Cardinali

Cardinali, 59, was circling the parking lot of the Oritani Bank, banging on the doors and cursing the employees inside just minutes before the doors were to open at 9 a.m., Police Chief Frank Papapietro told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

“This isn’t the first incident with this bank where he’s harrassed the employees,” the chief said. “We’ve  had to physically remove him from the bank several times before.

“This time he went over the line.”

When Police Officer John Maroney and Giovanni Russino arrived, Cardinali, 59, sped off on River Road, the chief said. They followed him to his house on River Lane, where, Papapietro said, Cardinali began cursing at the officers.

As he reached into his car for his license and registration, the officers spotted a knife with a tan handle sticking out between the driver’s seat and the console, the chief said.

When they went to retrieve it, he said, the 5-foot-10 Cardinali — who’s done time for drug and parole offenses — began swinging a 20-inch chain at them.

Maroni got his on the arm and Russino on the wrist, but both are fine and have returned to duty, the chief said.

They eventually subdued Cardinali, who began kicking at the windows in the back of the police cruiser while in handcuffs. The officers also seized both the keychain and the knife, which, it turned out, has a 12-inch blade, Papapietro said.

Cardinali continued his tirade at headquarters, where police charged him with two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, eluding and wespons possession. He even got a stack of motor vehicle summons — for careless driving, failing to signal, not wearing a seatbelt and not have the proper documents.

He’s being held on $75,000 bail at the Bergen County Jail, which the chief said he hoped would keep him there for awhile.

He was more concerned, however, with now are six officers in all who’ve been assaulted in town this past week.

All have since returned to duty. Papapietro, meanwhile, is hoping this doesn’t become a summer trend.

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