Binns set to clear the air

Posted: February 28, 2012

IT COST Jimmy Binns $980 to get rid of his neighbor's noisy air conditioners in Margate, along with what Binns calls an unprecedented ride to the local police station.

On Dec. 13, Binns, founder of Philadelphia's hero-cop plaque program, was arrested, handcuffed and jailed in the Shore resort "as if he were a bank robber about to flee," his attorney said. Binns was charged with criminal mischief for disconnecting his neighbor's air conditioners a few days before.

"I can guarantee you it's never happened in any police department in the state of New Jersey," Binns said yesterday about his treatment over the charge.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office dropped the charge on Friday, and Binns and his attorney, Stephen Hankin, said that they plan to turn up the heat on Margate and possibly his neighbor on Amherst Avenue by filing a lawsuit.

"Of course, I know why the charges were dropped: There was nothing criminal done," Hankin said.

Hankin said that he helped Binns determine that the air conditioners were actually on his property and Binns paid a contractor $980 to disconnect the units. Binns said that he couldn't sleep at night because they were vibrating his entire house, all summer.

"He had that right," Hankin said. "He also had both the need and right to be able to sleep in his own home."

Binns' neighbor in Margate declined to comment, and the solicitor there, John Scott Abbott, did not return a phone call for comment. Hankin said Binns has an unblemished reputation to uphold. The hero-plaque program has honored nearly 300 Philly cops with plaques at the locations where they died.

Binns has also expanded the program to the surrounding suburbs and New Jersey, including two plaques in Margate, according to his website. He said that he wasn't angry at the police administration in Margate but that he'd find out why the three officers were "on a mission of their own."

"It's something that never should have happened in the first place," he said. "I'm very friendly with 90 percent of the police officers."


Contact Jason Nark at 215-854-5916 or narkj@phillynews.com..

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