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Netflix’s Making a Murderer has inspired a lot of conversation about the case of convicted murderer Steven Avery. After watching the show, many people have become convinced that he was framed for the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Since many are siding with the defense in the case, that means that they’ve made villains of the prosecutor and law enforcement who worked to put Avery in prison, and they are not being quiet about it at all.
The internet has vilified the law enforcement officers involved with the case beyond nasty (but sometimes funny) memes, and (as people of the internet so often do) made things personal and taken their dislike of those public officials way too far. Ken Kratz, the special prosecutor for the case, has told an interviewer with Gothamist, Jena Friedman, that viewers of the documentary have actually gotten his phone number and started leaving messages that would make the toughest of lawyers think twice about leaving work alone. In the beginning of their taped interview you can see Kratz hold up his phone for Friedman, so she can read what people are telling him. That text message read, “Do you understand how much of a piece of shit you are? You fat fuck, with low self-esteem.”
Those angry with Ken Kratz have taken things even further now. A report from BuzzFeed, via News.Mic, notes that people are attacking his new business, as a private practice defense attorney. These people are taking their ire to Yelp in the hope that everyone will know how awful they believe Kratz to be. One comment read: “I have never wished death on anyone in all the years I have had on this earth. But after seeing how you treat people, I got pretty darn close. I hope that you get an incurable STD and spend the rest of your short life in constant misery, you fat sloth.”
The harassment doesn’t end with Ken Kratz, either. A recent story in the USA Today Network-Wisconsin says that they have received a letter from Lt. Andrew Colborn, one of the law enforcement officers on the 2005 case, berating reporter John Ferak for publishing enough information to lead people to former lieutenant James Lenk, another police officer who worked to arrest and prosecute Steven Avery. His letter points to the fact that Lenk has not been involved with the series and has moved away from the county in Wisconsin where the case was tried. His letter admonished the reporter with a succinct “you should be ashamed of yourself.”
There’s certainly been no denying that viewers are racking up some strong opinions about the Steven Avery case since the Netflix series debuted last month. But, the harassment of those involved with putting him behind bars goes, obviously, several steps too far. Whichever side you take on the Making a Murderer fence, let’s all hope that mean letters, emails and phone messages are as far as this goes.