John E. Reid & Associates is known for creating and popularizing the “Reid Technique,” a controversial police interrogation method that critics say produces false confessions. The federal lawsuit, filed Monday, states that the technique does not teach any of the illegal things mentioned in the series — like withholding bathroom breaks or parental supervision.
“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 lawsuit states, according to Variety. “Defendants published the statements in ‘When They See Us’ in an effort to cause a condemnation of the Reid Technique.”
In the fourth episode of the series, NYPD detective Michael Sheehan is accused of using the Reid technique to draw out a false confession from the Central Park Five, now known as the Exonerated Five.
“You squeezed statements out of them after 42 hours of questioning and coercing, without food, bathroom breaks, withholding parental supervision,” a character is seen telling Sheehan. “The Reid Technique has been universally rejected.”
“I don’t even know what the f**king Reid Technique is, OK? I know what I was taught. I know what I was asked to do and I did it," Sheehan shoots back.
In a letter titled Clarifying Misinformation about The Reid Technique, the firm states that the method is "specifically designed to do everything possible to protect against a person making a false confession."
The company is suing DuVernay and Netflix for defamation, alleging that the series has damaged their reputation. They also want to stop Netflix from continuing the series as it is currently and to turn over some of its profits.