Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Sunday said he’s not sure any police reform could have stopped what happened to Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who was beaten by Memphis police officers after a traffic stop in early January.
“I don’t know that there’s any law that can stop that evil that we saw that is just, I mean, just difficult to watch,” Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “What strikes me is just the lack of respect for human life. So I don’t know that any law, any training, any reform is going to change. You know, they, this man was handcuffed. They continue to beat him.”
“The fact that we saw that these individuals, these five individuals did not have any respect for life, and again, I don’t think these five guys represent the vast, vast majority of law enforcement, but I don’t know if there’s anything you can do to stop the kind of evil we saw in that video,” Jordan said.
Graphic video footage of the beating was released on Friday showing officers pepper-spraying, deploying a stun gun and beating Nichols as he lay on the ground. Nichols died in the hospital three days after the encounter. Five officers involved in the beating were subsequently fired and charged with second-degree murder, among other charges.
Ahead of the video release on Friday, President Biden called for “meaningful reforms.” Protests since the footage was released have also called for changes in police systems.
But for years, Congress has struggled to pass federal legislation addressing police brutality.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) introduced the Just and Unifying Solutions To Invigorate Communities Everywhere Act in the Senate in 2020. The legislation would incentivize state and local departments to report on the use of certain policing practices, create new federal offenses for certain misconduct and establish best practices and training requirements.
But Senate Democrats blocked the legislation, arguing it did not go far enough to address racial inequality.
In 2021, then-Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, named after the man who was murdered by Minneapolis police officers in May 2020.
The legislation would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, end qualified immunity and prohibit racial and religious profiling by law enforcement officers.
Though it passed in the House, it failed to move forward in the Senate when Republicans said the bill would make communities less safe. Many Republicans oppose ending qualified immunity and no-knock warrants.
“I’m for the best training possible, but what I’m not for is what we saw there. I don’t know that any, any training, no ban — there was no chokeholds used there — what they did there was just just continue to beat Mr. Nichols,” Jordan said on Sunday. “So I don’t know that’s the answer, but we again will look at what we think makes sense to help, to make sure they have the proper training, but no amount of training is going to change what we saw in that video.”