Officer Jo Mason, a member of GOAL’s executive board, urged Krasner to apologize for covering the wall. “There is no reason not to admit the hurt that this action caused, apologize for it and pledge to do better,” Mason told PGN. “All Mr. Krasner has to say is, ‘I’m sorry for any feelings that were hurt. I’m sorry for any pain that was caused. We’ll do better in the future.’ Instead, we’re accused of playing politics.”
Mason, who is nonbinary, said they personally knew about a dozen officers killed in the line of duty since becoming an officer in 2002. “It’s a very real hurt,” they added.
Sgt. Nicholas Tees, another GOAL executive board member, echoed Mason’s sentiments.
“We as GOAL don’t take this as a political tool,” Tees told PGN. “We view this as respect and honor to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. Mr. Krasner is avoiding the issue. He’s just saying he has to follow the law. Well, tell us what law you’re referring to. People would have more respect if there was an honest answer. Mr. Krasner needs to explain what he’s doing. People need to understand what he’s doing and why.”
Tees also expressed concern that Krasner isn’t sensitive to crime victims. “It appears that he’s not sensitive to victims of crimes, including law enforcement officers who have sacrificed their life,” Tees added.
Moreover, Tees expressed hope that Krasner will respond to GOAL’s letter and meet with the group. “We’re optimistic there will be some resolution and that we’ll hear back from Mr. Krasner,” Tees concluded. “Ideally, GOAL would like to have an ongoing conversation with the gentleman about this issue and others.”
A spokesperson for Krasner had no comment on whether he would meet with GOAL.
Sgt. Eric Gripp, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department, issued this statement: “The Wall of Remembrance at the DA’s Office is a solemn memorial to some of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our city. The officers depicted in that memorial deserve to be shown the utmost care and respect. And having it placed in a location where it might need to be covered is hurtful to survivors. We are grateful that the District Attorney agreed to move the Wall of Remembrance to a different space within the office where it is visible but will not have to be covered due to any legal requirement.”
In a follow-up email, Gripp said the Wall has been moved to a room where the DA’s Office holds press conferences.
Jonathan D. Lovitz, an LGBT advocate, agreed with GOAL’s letter.
“Yes, I fully agree with the team at GOAL that an explanation and apology is a first step — followed by a conversation with GOAL and the DA about improving inclusion and awareness in city law enforcement and judicial systems,” Lovitz said, in an email. “It’s encouraging to hear that [Police] Commissioner [Danielle] Outlaw is so supportive of GOAL — and the elevation of diversity, equity, and inclusive community input as we work to fight racism and violence throughout our city. We all have a role to play!”
Tim Cwiek is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.