49th NAACP Image Awards - Arrivals

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In the Netflix original When They See Us, director Ava DuVernay, portrayed a tactic used in interrogation called the Reid technique.

The technique is a complicated series of psychological tricks, that can be controversial. Those who are believers in the Reid technique, says the method is useful in getting unwilling suspects to cough up vital information about a case, or another suspect. Those who are opposed to the practice believe that it can lead to an unacceptably high rate of false confessions from people who are in fact innocent, especially young people.

According to Deadspin, DuVernay and Netflix are being put on the hot seat overexposing the practice in the docu-series.

“Defendants published the statements in When They See Us in an effort to cause condemnation of the Reid Technique,” says the suit filed that was filed by John E. Reid & Associates, the originators of the technique. The series depicts the rush to justice against five young men falsely accused in the near-fatal 1989 rape of a woman who was jogging in Central Park.

The plaintiffs are claiming defamation, and have desires for unspecified widespread damages and profits from both DuVernay and Netflix. They have even gone as far to ask When They See Us to be removed from Netflix until the line is changed, or omitted from the movie completely.

Netflix has already told Reid they will not redact the line from the series, and they also declined to comment on the lawsuit. DuVernay also declined to comment.

Reid & Associates are crying foul, claiming When They See Us “fabricated a scene designed to broadcast to the audience a conversation they made up that included false statements as to the Reid Technique.”

Although the practice has been largely abandoned for other methods, Reid & Associates insist their methods have not been disproven. In the complaint, they say their technique has extra protection built in for minors. The company also assures that more than 200,000 individuals around the world have taken their training to learn how to properly use the Reid Technique in the past 20 years.

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