May 19th, 2014
01:54 PM ET
9 years 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.

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"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. calmdown24

    Our president does create a lot of anger in people who feel he does not care about them. Anger can bring out the worst in a person.

    May 19, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Confuzed

    Let's play nice and remember.."Sticks and stones may break my bones..."

    May 19, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. VOU

    Instead of calling him the N word he should have called him some other derogatory name that did not have a racial connotatoin. Fundamentally in certain job positions, especially government officials, you have to be very careful with your choice of words. This is not a matter of freedom of speech but of respect and honor from one elected official to another. If you violate that principle in public as a PUBLIC SERVANT it can cost you your job.

    May 19, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. HZ

    the old man said "he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.", so he didn't use that word on whole group of people, just specific person currently occupy whitehouse. i don't see anything wrong with that, especially it was a private conversation.
    eavesdrop is bad and rude, you know? and every person has the right to his opinion
    and since liberal media hasn't been able to find ANY wrong-doing from this old man other than a word used in a PRIVATE conversation, i think this old man did a really good job throughout his career
    btw, i'm not white.....

    May 19, 2014 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. dondiego

    Note to self: Life is short, don't be an angry old man.

    May 19, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Shack

    Racism is a slap in the creators face. He didn't ask any of us what race we wanted to be; he created what he liked. I would like to see how he explains to God why he has such distain for who or what God created.

    May 19, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. pjoe

    This n-word stuff is soooooo gay. Stupid racist!

    May 19, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. tcifelli

    This is really the lead story on CNN? I agree he should not say that, but this is not lead story material.

    May 19, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. bozikhan

    A racial slur is not an opinion. Its used to put down and demonize a group of people.

    May 19, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Bruno Szewczyk

    We have to be they greediest and most raciest countries in the world; if you do not believe me read "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own" A New History of the American West, by Richard White. Fantastic book

    May 19, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx


    May 19, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. HZ


    If you violate that principle in public as a PUBLIC SERVANT it can cost you your job.
    you do realize it's a private conversation right? people can have private conversation in a restaurant you know? and eavesdrop in a restaurant is really rude

    May 19, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. aktap

    I never thought I'd live to see the day when public figures would speak of our President in such a shameful manor. Thankfully we are seeing the backside of this old nut job. I just hope the same thing happens to anybody else who feels the need to insult the President of our nation!

    May 19, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. wallabear

    REPUBLICANS (or otherwise)... living in the State of New Hampshire? Good Lord, what is the world coming to!

    May 19, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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