cuffs.jpgThe New York Times examines the practice of handcuffing prisoners who have been shot by the police, just a few days after the death of Khiel Coppin. The mentally disturbed Brooklyn 18-year-old was handcuffed by cops after they shot him ten times, thinking he was armed with a gun. It turns out, Coppin was armed only with a hairbrush. According to the Times, the practice of handcuffing someone who is already prone and wounded is something that can inflame onlookers who've arrived on the scene following an incident, although there is a rationale behind the practice.

People in and out of law enforcement, including some critics of the Police Department, say there are many reasons for the use of handcuffs in shooting situations, even after the bullets stop flying. It is meant to keep everyone — officers, civilians and the shot person himself — from further harm, in the same way a doctor might have to restrain a patient before administering medicine.

Critics, however, see the handcuffing of a possibly mortally wounded person as a final indignity perpetuated as a form of rough street justice. Another shooting victim who was cuffed as he lay dying was Sean Bell. Lawyer Ron Kuby is a critic of the practice. “Cuffing people after they’ve been shot, or when they’re dead, or when they’re dying is one of the ugliest, most barbaric, unnecessarily horrifying things that the police do, and they do it as a matter of course.” Indeed they have to, if following the procedures outlined in the NYPD's police manual that specifies that injured persons in such situations be cuffed behind their backs. What do you think? Should cops be cuffing people based on their condition, regardless of their state, or is there no point in restraining a dead or severely wounded person?