When Ava DuVernay released the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series “When They See Us,” she likely knew that she would ruffle a few feathers. The truth can be a hard pill to swallow, so it’s not surprising that law enforcement figures who played a role in robbing the Exonerated Five of their childhoods are trying to rewrite history and misplace blame.
However, the most recent legal complaint against the film is coming from an unlikely source. According to TMZ, the latest jab comes from former Chicago police officer John Reid. While Reid does not appear in the film, he’s arguing in a defamation lawsuit that the series misrepresents and demonizes his work.
Reid is credited with a police interrogation tactic known as The Reid Technique, which some police training firms have done away with because they suspect that it has a tendency to produce false confessions. In the series, the technique is referenced as “universally rejected” when a prosecutor and detective are discussing the manner in which the detective coerced confessions out of the boys.
“You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision,” the prosecutor said. “The Reid Technique has been universally rejected. That’s truth to you.”
According to the lawsuit, the Reid technique does not teach officers to withhold parental supervision or deny interrogation subjects of their rights. He adds that his technique teaches officers to take caution when interviewing minors. In summary, he claims the Reid Technique rejects the practices depicted by officers in the film.
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He argues that Ava “fabricated a scene designed to broadcast to the audience a conversation they made up that included false statements as to the Reid Technique.” In July, Reid says that he demanded a retraction of comments made about the interrogation technique; however, Netflix refused.
This story was originally published on MadameNoire.com.
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