Interrogation technique from Richardson trial at center of Netflix lawsuit

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Brooke “Skylar” Richardson, enters the Warren County Courthouse Tuesday, September 3, 2019.The 20-year-old accused of killing and burying her baby in the backyard of her Carlisle home. Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment in the death of her newborn infant. She faces the possibility of life in prison.

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The interrogation technique at the center of Skylar Richardson’s murder trial is the subject of a lawsuit against a show on Netflix.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Director Avu DuVernay of “When They See Us” and Netflix are being sued by Chicago-based John E. Reid and Associates. The company developed the Reid Technique in the 1940s.

The use of the interrogation technique is a subject of the series’ fourth episode.

During the trial, Richardson’s defense blasted Warren County detective Brandi Carter and former detective John Faine for their use of the technique when they questioned Richardson about burning her newborn baby in 2017. Carter and Faine were told by a forensic pathologist the newborn’s corpse had been burned prior to the interrogation. But further testing after the interrogation found no proof the baby’s remains had shown signs of being burned.

Richardson was found not guilty of aggravated murder, homicide and guilty of abuse of a corpse and received probation. Richardson denied burning her baby 17 times during interrogation, then said she may have cremated the baby with a lighter.

The Reid Technique and Richardson’s interrogation were central subjects of the case. Alan Hirsch, an interrogation expert for the defense, said Carter and Faine used an aggressive form of the technique.

“They used extreme minimization themes like their only concern was the burial of the baby,” Hirsch said. “They went beyond and it was an extremely troubling tactic Faine and Carter used.”

The lawsuit against Netflix accused the streaming service and the show of inciting the audience.

In a portion of the suit published by the Chicago Tribune: “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. Defendants published the statements in ‘When They See Us’ in an effort to cause condemnation of the Reid Technique.”

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