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. Ruppert Jenkins

    I have never been more ashamed of my country more than I am now, during this period of thought control, speech control, violations of privacy, punitive-ness, and censorship.

    It just sickens me to the core to watch this country turn into just another repressive 3rd-world country in slow motion.

    We used to pride ourselves on our liberties. Yet, today, at least half the people–usually the more brainwashed younger half - pride themselves on how quickly they can punish anyone and everyone who attempts to be free.

    The whole spectacle is revolting, disgusting, and appalling.

    Furthermore, my family and I will have no part of it, and we will continue to talk and write as we please.

    So, all of you can go to he**.

    May 19, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. max

    I love how we're having to blow up smaller and smaller stories so libs can still justify their rhetoric that racism plays any real, significant role in American Society today. Old man sheriff in tiny town drops n-bomb.... WHO CARES

    May 19, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  3. scoot27

    Meanwhile Robert Copeland has been offered numerous job offers in Arizona.

    May 19, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  4. laughingoutloud

    Well, I was always told bad words are not bad words when used in the correct context.

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Thing55

    You can just envision this guy saying, "Hey, get off my lawn," even though there's nobody on his lawn.

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. Canada

    He's that old and he can email.

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. robert jackson

    I Honor this man. He could have used many other words but he got to the point a bit quick. About the ruthless reporter, I also agree with the skunk word. Just think, Hillary will be next, we have NO-Hope. By the way, how is that Hope and Change working for you?

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. John

    So much ageism in these comments. Calling people old "coots", senile, implying all older people are racist, need to retire, etc.

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. steelers1981

    He had a chance to apologize. He chose not to. It was not a slip of the tongue. Apparently he's quite comfortable with the word

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. sly

    george culpepper: "another stool pigeon snitch ratting out someone using the N-word. I'm sure the snitch waitress wasn't happy with her tip. Its all about money in America"
    Absolutely! I am still disgusted that someone snitched on the Boston Marathon bombers.

    And worse – someone snitched and identified Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda for 9/11.

    Those Americans that snitched on the 9/11 and Boston Marathon bombers should leave America – they are not American!

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. scarf

    Copeland should be glad that he's got freedom of speech. If he said something analogous about Putin in Russia, he'd never get the chance to resign.

    May 19, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Lagos

    Sniffit: Might have more to do with the fact that the GOP 2012 presidential candidate put it out in a very public way, than the fact that he was rich or white.

    May 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Lea Walker

    I find it totally appalling when anyone thinks or speaks this way... Our blood all runs the same damn color and there is room for all of us under the Sun... He did the right thing by stepping down... I grew up with a father from the South and my father was very guilty of this kind of behavior. We all make choices and I choose to love all my brothers and sisters and people from all cultural backgrounds.. Our color of skin does not define us. The Golden Rule is the only one that counts...

    May 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Saez

    I just feel no matter what President we have in office wether he is Black, White, Hispanic or Asian there is a level of respect that we all owe our nations President. If you want to talk about our President no matter who he is do it in the privacy of your own home but when you do it in public its disrespectful. He is lucky this is America in other countries you would be jailed or put to death.

    May 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. American Worker

    A 'Free People's Governance' assures that it, other governments, businesses, groups, and individuals let the people and our diversity be. With Laws and Regulations that Mitigate the "Actions" of the Careless, Inconsiderate, Malicious, and Anti-Functional.

    We must be free to have our own beliefs and thoughts but be held accountable for our our Actions.

    Those Acting to be punitive against someone for their thoughts undermines their own Freedom to have their own thoughts.

    If there are Acts that can be Mitigated, then Mitigate them. Otherwise, take note and let each other be.

    May 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Truth Slinger

    Ah, yes. The PC Police Gestapo at their finest. They SCREAM "free speech" and "civil rights" but ONLY if it's what they want to hear or say. Everyone else must forfeit their rights to these NAZI's. Incidentally, just because the PC Police don't like what the man said doesn't mean that what he said wasn't truthful.

    May 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. steelers1981

    He had a chance to apologize but he chose not to

    May 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. quidestveritas

    if he doesn't think he did anything wrong, they why did he resign?

    May 19, 2014 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. vespa

    some people just cannot and will not accept President Obama as the president based solely on skin color. What a shame. He ( Copeland) was old and ignorant. Just look at the scowl on his face. HE is going to die soon anyway, so good riddens. The cancer in his heart will eventually manifest itself into actual cancer I believe and kill him

    May 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. MNClownfactory

    @johnathan, Don't you think slandering a whole race is wrong?

    May 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Mike

    Old white folk. Yikes!

    May 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. John

    Ok, before the groups take over and storm this great state of New Hampshire. The man is 82 years old with a mind that has been deteriorating for sometime now. To take him seriously is a joke. he resigned, let's move on....if that's possible in this media -driven society.

    May 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Mancee Graice

    The sheer arrogance of these mouth breathing bigots never ceases to amaze. Thank the lord that these angriest of the creepiest old white men are not long for this earth. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    May 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Alan

    Another Democrat resigns... this is news?

    May 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Greg Franklin

    It bothers me that this type of news is headline when not a word was spoken regarding Obama making out his NCAA braket while the Russians were invading Ukraine. This guy obviously has hatred in his heart, he deserves to go. But where are the stories regarding Benghazi and how we left Americans there to die....and then lie about it and then lie again. Those were the actions of the Secretary of State under Obama. Those stories should get this level of attention.

    May 19, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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