When They See Us: Netflix wins defamation case

Netflix has won a defamation case for the show When They See Us, which tells the story of the Central Park Five.

The case was brought against the streaming service and its director, Ava DuVernay, by a US police training firm.

John E. Reid and Associates complained the series had falsely portrayed a interrogation method called the Reid Technique.

Judge Manish S. Shah ruled that the series’ depiction of interrogation was protected by law.

The ruling was given under the First Amendment – which protects freedom of speech and expression.

The four-part Netflix series was a dramatisation of five wrongly convicted black and Latino teenagers who were accused of assaulting and raping a woman in Central Park in 1989.

The show includes scenes where New York police interrogate the boys for several days without food and toilet breaks to get them to confess.

The lawsuit referred to a conversation between two characters – Manhattan assistant district attorney Nancy Ryan and a New York City detective – in the final episode of the series.

Ryan’s partner says: “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 police training firm said the show’s depiction of the technique was false but the judge ruled When They See Us had only loosely showed the technique – rather than explicitly listing everything it included.

Last week, former prosecutor Linda Fairstein filed her own defamation case against Netflix and Ava DuVernay over the series, claiming that she was falsely portrayed as racist and in charge the prosecution of the Central Park Five.

Netflix said it would defend itself against the “frivolous” lawsuit.

One spring evening in 1989, a group of around 30 teenagers were hanging out in Central Park, New York.

Some of them were causing serious trouble – including badly hurting others in the park and harassing homeless people.

The same night, a 28-year-old white woman, Trisha Meili, had been out jogging in the park.

She was found beaten and raped and was in a coma for 12 days – and in that time, the case of the Central Park Jogger would grip New York City.

Five young black and Hispanic men, aged between 14 and 16, would be found guilty and jailed for the crime.

They became known as the Central Park Five.

But they never committed the crime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.