A lawsuit by the company behind the widely-used “Reid technique” of police interrogations is accusing Netflix and filmmaker Ava DuVernay of defamation in their depiction of the method, according to The Wrap.
The lawsuit from John E. Reid and Associates stems from the Netflix miniseries “When They See Us,” which dramatizes the case of the so-called Central Park 5, five black and Latino teenagers who were convicted and imprisoned in the brutal beating and rape of a jogger before DNA evidence and another man’s confession exonerated them.
The company claims the movie, which depicts the five teens’ coerced confessions, wrongly portrays the method, developed in the 1950s by a former Chicago police officer, as “universally rejected.”
“Vitally important to the instant case is that the Reid Technique does not involve and prohibits: striking or assaulting a subject, making any promises of leniency, denying a subject any rights, conducting excessively long interrogations, and denying a subject any physical needs,” the suit reads.
“Reid also urges that extreme caution and care be taken when interviewing or interrogating juveniles or those with mental impairments,” it says.
The lawsuit also cites a line in the miniseries equating the method with the teens being subjected to a 40-hour questioning session without food, bathroom access or parental supervision. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages and for the line in question to be edited out of the program.
Critics of the method have long contended that it lends itself to false confessions. In 2015, Reid & Associates was one of eight organizations to settle with Juan Rivera, a man who was wrongfully convicted of raping a child after an interrogation that included two polygraphs administered at Reid & Associates.
The Hill has reached out to Netflix for comment.