May 19th, 2014
01:54 PM ET
7 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. Dumbas[R]ocks

    He would have gotten significantly more backing from the run-of-the-mill [R]s and Romney, had he only incorporated.

    May 19, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. Frank Booth

    GOOD!! Glad the old codger is out! There's no place for this type of blatant & nasty bigotry anywhere, anyhow or anytime! Frank

    May 19, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Joe NYer

    And well he should! It was an immature short-sighted malicious expression of ignorance. A grown man of senior age should display wisdom, not callous disregard of ANY human being.

    May 19, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. anchorite

    Of COURSE he resigned. How else could he feel like a martyr, hounded by liberal political correctness Nazis? Besides, he needed to clear up his schedule for the radio program and Fox News offers he'll be getting.

    May 19, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Saboth

    Well, he might be racist, but at least he's honest and straight to the point.

    May 19, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. The REAL Truth...

    It's no wonder that stuff like this is coming from an 82 yr old Republican.. smacks of Bundy and the aging right wing. They will be gone soon...

    May 19, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Gurgyl

    -don't fuss about this jerk that represents skunk in 21st century, remove send him to prison, feed trash.

    May 19, 2014 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Libdumb

    Search and destroy continues.

    May 19, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Conservatism is a disease

    what racism? where? liberals are playing the race card

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

    Copeland, so you lost your job and the respect of your colleagues. Was your hatred of the dar key worth this?

    May 19, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP HOWDEE GOWDEE SHOW with special guest ISSA the CLOWN

    A public figure , now a days CANT speak like a bigot racist from 1955 , oh, that's exactly WHO THIS guy IS , a model1955 BZiGOT who just ruined his reputation in 30 sec. Must be nice to be an 80 year old LOSER and BIGOT for ALL to see!!!!!!

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

    Good riddance! There is no room in leadership for people like him.

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

    And why is this a one way street. Nothing but racism both ways.

    May 19, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. MichaelF

    Sad to see him go..

    May 19, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. z&hcats

    Why did people still vote to a 82 years old in office?

    May 19, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Dirty Harry

    All I can think about when I see this guy is "Gran Torino", and the "Get off my lawn!" scene.

    May 19, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Chris

    "the N Word"!!! we are serioulsy so dumb as a society.

    May 19, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Aaron Ververs

    Now he can devote all of his time to yelling at kids to get off of his lawn.

    May 19, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. emskadittle

    he was 82 years old, what the heck was doing in the job in the first place

    May 19, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. Ryan

    Good. You don't have to like Obama, but being racist about it is straight up stupid and uncalled for. Especially when you're in a position such as police commissioner.

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

    You mess with the bull, you get the horns. LOL! Good riddance!

    May 19, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Richard L Smith

    There's no fool like an old fool.

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

    As it should be.

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

    Buh Bye.....

    May 19, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. jayne n montana

    Sorry to see him resign... what happened to free speech? where is it ok for one black to call another black the dreaded N word and yet white cant do that? this is a double standard, either all use it or non.. you can not legislate morality as you can not legislate free speech... don't like it don't vote for the person... im sure she just happened to overhear the conversation...

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