Ava DuVernay and Netflix have been sued over their portrayal of the Reid interrogation technique of the Central Park Five in the Emmy-award winning series When They See Us, according to a new report by Hollywood Reporter.
According to the report, John E. Reid and Associates, a company that trains police on how to interrogate, claims that When They See Us sheds a negative light on the procedure, and implies that it involves coercion.
“Defendants 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,” the suit reads. “Defendants published the statements in ‘When They See Us’ in an effort to cause a condemnation of the Reid technique.”
The lawsuit also refers to a specific scene where the alleged Reid technique was badly dramatized. In the final episode of When They See Us, a district attorney’s office employee confronts a detective in the case, saying: “You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision. The Reid Technique has been universally rejected. That’s truth to you.”
The detective responds:
“I don’t even know what the fucking Reid technique is, OK? I know what I was taught. I know what I was asked to do and I did it.”
Reid and Associates also claims the program has caused harm to the company’s reputation, and the firm is seeking actual and punitive damages.
When They See Us, directed by DuVernay, tells the story of the Central Park Five, a group of young black men who were falsely charged with the rape and assault of a jogger in 1989.