Local reaction is mixed regarding the recent social media screeds of Officer Brian Gossert of the Mansfield Borough Police Department.
All commenters requested anonymity, but represent a variety of ages and ethnicities. The majority opinion among locals is that Gossert’s defense of the Confederacy, profanity against Democrats and other groups, and recording an arrest on Tik Tok are cause for immediate removal.
“He should be fired,” said E.M. “He doesn’t represent Mansfield; he doesn’t even live here.”
Gossert lives downstate and works part-time for Mansfield Borough. Public records show that his father owns property in Galeton.
“He is a racist disgrace,” said W.T. “Aren’t there better quality people that could be hired for this job? The borough didn’t check into him closely enough, that’s for sure.”
“Read a history book,” said another resident. “The Confederate flag is the symbol of a defeated, traitorous country. And slavery ended 156 years ago, not ‘over 200 years’, as he said.”
As of April 1, Gossert’s social media accounts had been modified and then deleted completely.
Approximately 25% of locals, when asked, said they supported Gossert’s viewpoints.
“The only problem I have is that he did this in uniform,” said F.A. “I don’t think that was a good decision, but he’s entitled to his opinions.”
“I happen to agree with most of what he said,” added W.J. “It wasn’t smart that he did this on camera, but, yeah, I hold the same views and it’s no one’s business.”
J.Y., who identified as a person of color, notes that he has had two interactions with Gossert and never experienced racism.
“I think people are coming down too hard on him,” he said. “A lot of people around here have these views, but it doesn’t affect how they do their job.”