A lawsuit has been launched against Ava DuVernay and Netflix regarding a police technique depicted in When They See Us.
According to Variety, DuVernay and the streaming service are being sued by John E. Reid and Associates, the company who developed a police interrogation technique in the 1950s called the Reid Technique, which has gone on to become, according to the company, the most widely-used interrogation technique by police around the world.
However, the technique has been considered a controversial tactic for years, with PBS’ Frontline reporting why it is often thought of as a dubious technique.
“According to [New York Magazine’s Robert] Kolker, this method of interrogation is questioned by some legal scholars: ‘Critics say the Reid technique is a major source of the problem [of false confessions],'” they report. “‘What was once seen as the vanguard of criminal science, they argue, is nothing more than a psychological version of the third degree.’ He adds: ‘Reid detractors also say that police often feed evidence to suspects, which accounts for why false confessors sometimes know details about a crime that they wouldn’t otherwise know.'”
Frontline also reported that the University of Virginia School of Law professor, Brandon L. Garrett, said that his research “suggests that innocents actually confess a lot,” as forty of the first 250 people who have been exonerated thanks to DNA evidence falsely confessed to crimes they didn’t commit.
“The lawsuit claims that this dialogue [shown in the series] mischaracterizes the Reid Technique,” states Variety, “which it says does not involve coercion, and also alleges that it is false to assert that the technique has been ‘universally rejected.'” The company also alleges that its reputation has been damaged because the Netflix miniseries “intended to incite an audience reaction against Reid for what occurred in the Central Park Jogger Case and for the coercive interrogation tactics that continue to be used today.”
Shadow And Act has reached out to both DuVernay and Netflix about the lawsuit, with Netflix declining to comment.
Photo credit: Netflix
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