Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., told Newsmax on Tuesday that the five former Memphis, Tennessee, police officers charged with murdering Tyre Nichols are "thugs with badges," and that lax hiring standards played a role in the killing.
"I think these men obviously are guilty, but there ought to be some guilt associated with the [police] administration involved in this as well," Burchett said on "Wake Up America." "You're not going to train this out of somebody. These are obviously thugs that were that were given a badge. They murdered that poor kid."
Memphis Police Department officers Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith were charged with second-degree murder after body-camera video showed them beating Nichols after a Jan. 7 traffic stop, Memphis television station ABC 24 reported Jan. 26.
Nichols, 29, was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died three days later.
"Unfortunately, these five or six people, they just murdered this man," Burchett said. "There's no training that's going to provide that. They should have never been hired in the first place. The [psychological] evaluation, somebody failed [in the] the administration. They had a special unit they were a part of, and I think this goes a lot deeper and what's going on in the police force."
Burchett said the answer is to increase hiring standards and pay police more instead of hiring people who can't handle the stress and professional requirements.
"We need to pay police officers more, actually," he said. "We need to free up this administrative nonsense. They'll want counselors and more counselors, but the vast majority of the time when a police officer goes into a hot situation there's not going to be somebody just knocking on the door saying, Hey, can we come in and talk to you, and there's somebody on their side that could have a gun, could be holding a gun to a person. It just takes brute force."
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