Worcester police use coercion to get confession

This article was cross-posted at Massachusetts Cop Block

As counterintuitive as it sounds, there are a many documented cases of innocent people confessing to serious crimes (like rapes, murders, etc.) when interrogated by police. The Innocence Project reports that about one quarter of people who have been exonerated by DNA evidence made false incriminating statements or gave false confessions that helped convict them.

How could this be? What would lead someone to do something as seemingly crazy as confessing to a crime they didn’t commit?

WBUR/90.9FM (Boston public radio) recently broadcast an excellent two-part program by reporter David Boeri which looks at some of the reasons why. The program, titled “Anatomy of a Bad Confession,” discusses how Worcester, Massachusetts police detectives used abusive interrogation techniques to coerce 16-year-old Nga Troung into confessing to a murder she did not commit. The program goes into detail about the interrogation techniques used by the detectives as well as the disturbing lack of accountability they have faced.

The whole program is worth a listen, so I won’t bother summarizing it any further. Use the links below to check it out:

More information:

Legal documents (.pdf format):



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  • John

    All you need to do is watch “The Norfolk Four” on Frontline to see just how easy it is to get someone to confess to a murder they didn’t commit and then implicate 3 other innocents in the process. Horrible.

  • I cannot tell you the number of people I have told to NEVER talk to the police. Many still do, for a plethora of reasons… but in the end I always tell them this.

    If you don’t talk to the police, yeah you’ll go to jail… but if you talk to the police, you’re going to prison.

    Even the dumbest of criminal understand this statement.

  • JetClarke

    This must be why they even state ‘WILL be used AGAINST you’. Not fairly, for or against based on the merits and context of what you say, but AGAINST YOU.

  • Maya

    These cops should spend as much time in prison as the poor child they put in prison spent there. And in solitary confinement for half the time, then in prison surrounded by prisoners who hate them. AFter they get out of prison, these cops should spend the rest of their lives supporting the young woman whose life they destroyed. She is permanently traumatized by what they did to her. Bad police should be subject to the same laws and the same consequences as everyone else.