May 19th, 2014
01:54 PM ET
5 months ago

Police commissioner in N.H. town resigns over Obama slur

(CNN) - A small-town police commissioner in New Hampshire, who originally said he wouldn't apologize for calling President Barack Obama the n-word, resigned on Monday.

Joseph Balboni, Police Commission chairman of Wolfeboro, confirmed to CNN that he received a resignation email from Robert Copeland.

"Dear Commission Chairman Balboni, I resign," wrote Copeland in the email.

Copeland resignation letter 1

Last Thursday, Copeland, 82, sat with his arms crossed at a packed town meeting while a crowd of angry residents in the predominantly white town called for his resignation.

Copeland acknowledged in an email to his fellow police commissioners that he used the racial slur to describe Obama.

Jane O'Toole, who moved to Wolfeboro four months ago, said she overheard Copeland use the word at a restaurant in March.

"It's not like I was eavesdropping. Mr. Copeland was being very loud," O'Toole told CNN affiliate WMUR.

She wrote to the town manager about the incident, and Copeland replied with a letter to O'Toole.

"I believe I did use the 'N' word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse (sic)," Copeland wrote. "For this, I do not apologize - he meets and exceeds my criteria for such."

Copeland was one of three members of the police commission, which hires, fires and disciplines officers and sets their salaries.

Two months ago he ran unopposed for re-election and secured another three-year term.

Wolfeboro, located in the scenic Lakes Region in the central part of New Hampshire, has around 20 African-American residents among its population of 6,300. The town was often a dateline in news reports during the 2012 presidential election, with GOP Mitt Romney spending time with family and campaign aides at his vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Over the weekend Romney called on Copeland to apologize and resign.

"The vile epithet used and confirmed by the commissioner has no place in our community: He should apologize and resign," Romney said in a statement provided to CNN

CNN's Yon Pomrenze, Stephanie Gallman, Paul Steinhauser and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report


Filed under: Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • President Obama
soundoff (714 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Well, bye.

    May 19, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Walter

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Obama got called a nasty name. Boo hoo! Cry, little babies! Cry! I ASSURE you he gets called MUCH worse around here on an hourly basis.

    May 19, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Bud Wolf

    Good riddance. This guy is a dinosaur, outdated, and obsolete.

    May 19, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Whity Wight

    And should quit if he said he thought Obama and his staff were clueless, we would be behind him 100% but the world has no more room for race slurs.

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Randy H

    Bye bye, D-Bag.

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. z&hcats

    Is he too old to know that the President is half black and half white? Most Obama haters always forget that he shares half of their white blood.

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Freedomofspeech

    Like he cares. Good for him for speaking his mind.

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. erik

    Why didn't Jesse Jackson resign when he did the same thing?

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. ljpne

    Freedom of speech is alive and well… Copeland deserves the reaction he received, as people are free to react as they see fit, and he deserves to lose his position in politics, due to the political fallout from such unprofessional conduct. However, he is not being imprisoned or executed for insulting his "ruler", and he remains free to pursue his racist interests and to continue to speak disrespectfully of others. That wouldn't be the case in most parts of the world.

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Jackson

    Buh-bye!

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Jerome Horowitz

    Bigots never go away, you know.
    They just fade into the background.

    May 19, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Buh bye bigot!

    May 19, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. nhguy

    we're not like this creep up here. every person I know from nh is thrilled he's gone; lets hope others like him get lost, too.

    May 19, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. John

    One less racist in power, a lot more to go!

    May 19, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. jamjr

    Don't let the door knob hit you where the dog should have bit you.

    May 19, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. bearsrepeating

    good riddance.

    May 19, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Robert Cicero

    The thought police have won today.

    Every last American who is happy at this denial of First Amendment rights should remember this when they themselves are denied their right to express themselves.

    That reality is already here; it's just a matter of time before every American experiences the same thing.

    Shame on all the self-appointed thought police.

    May 19, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Dave

    Good riddance.

    May 19, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. McBob79

    Robert Byrd used the N word repeatedly on the U.S. Senate floor and was also a KKK grand wizard. Media's response? Muted... those who did report stressed his age Just sayin.

    May 19, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Gwats

    I'm both shocked and surprised by this.

    May 19, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. tbone

    Too bad.
    Another one forced to agree to political correctness or lose his job.
    Once upon a time people were allowed to have their own opinions and those who didnt agree with those opinions just ignored them.

    May 19, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    This is no way to treat a Civil War hero

    May 19, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. barb'sbarb

    If one cannot treat people with dignity and respect one should not have a position of authority or one in which one must deal with the public.

    May 19, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. nick P.

    good riddance, and take your hateful views six feet under!

    May 19, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. dalewalk

    Good riddance to yet another dinosaur. What a class act to send such a childish resignation letter to his chairman.
    Hopefully, someday we'll be able to purge these dolts from their lofty perches.

    May 19, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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