Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio on Sunday that there aren’t “enough good people” seeking to become police officers due to the effects of the “defund the police” movement, which he blames for smearing law enforcement officials across the country.
Jordan, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, made the comments on NBC’s “Meet the Press” while discussing the death of Tyre Nichols, who was brutally beaten by five police officers in Memphis, Tenn., earlier this month.
“We’re not getting enough good people applying because of the disparagement on police officers. They don’t get enough people applying, taking the test to enter the academy to be an officer because there’s been this defund the police concept out there,” he said on the NBC News program.
“There’s been this attack on law enforcement, and you’re not getting the best of the best,” he added.
The officers involved in the Nichols case — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, and Desmond Mills Jr. — were all fired and charged with second-degree murder, official misconduct, aggravated kidnapping, official oppression and aggravated assault.
Jordan spoke out against the aforementioned officers, stating that they did not value life, but questioned whether any specific law could have prevented this particular attack and subsequent death.
“Well, I don’t know that there’s any law that can stop that kind of evil that we saw — that is just difficult to watch. What strikes me is the lack of respect for human life,” he said.
“These five individuals did not have any respect for life,” he continued to say. “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.”
When Jordan was asked if he would ban chokeholds — which was a part of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 — he instead said that certain policies should be kept outside of the purview of the federal government.
“If we can incentivize certain things, I still think you want to keep this at the state and local level,” he said. “This is a law enforcement issue. You start getting the federal government involved in databases and federal licensing things.”
He added that it may be disadvantageous for Congress to get involved in some policing legislation “because the federal government screws it up so many times.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act was named after George Floyd, a Black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis, Minn., police in May 2020. His death sparked a wave of racial reconciliation efforts across the US — and the world — and pushed Democratic legislators on Capitol Hill to work toward long-sought police reforms.
In March 2021, the House of Representatives — then controlled by Democrats — passed the Act.
However, the legislation languished in the Senate, as Republicans were opposed to the bill; bipartisan talks to move the legislation forward fell apart later in 2021.