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. revolting peasant

    This guy is 82 years old. He will be dead soon and civilization can advance. Not acceptable for public officials in law enforcement to make racist statements and defend them.

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Name

    How long before we hear the whining about how "pic everything has become."

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. TheSadTruth

    Donald Sterling would like to formally thank Mr. Copeland for picking up the Racism hot potato that he was so desperately trying to hand off.

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. Robert Carlisle

    My white skin reflects all the colors back. So am I not more of a person of color then a person whose skin pigment absorbs most of them. I am literally a walking rainbow.

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. Tim DeZolt

    "Get off my lawn!" I wonder how many times he said that?

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Lenny Pincus

    Actually, I feel very good that his loudmouth lost his job. With rights come responsibilities.

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Ms. O'Toole, who "overheard" his remark and rushed to report it, is the epitome of the town snoop. "

    Or perhaps she was at the restaurant quietly eating her meal and minding her own business when this elected official loudly started dropping n-bombs and she was justifiably upset, disgusted and concerned about his behavior. But that's ok...you obviously like what he had to say, so please proceed with shooting the messenger.

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. P. Herz

    Does anyone know what a double standard means, screw what the N word means. 🙂

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. vidal808

    Racism is alive and well in the good ol US of A – for that matter on our planet racism is alive and well. It will take a very long time and many, many more generations before the races are so integrated that everyone is multi racial and race will not matter any more.

    May 19, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  10. Tommy in Wilton

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the TEA PARTY.

    May 19, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. NR12

    How this made front page news is beyond me... OK their is racist old geezers in the world, I get it. Stop giving them publicity. 99% of the country could care less what a ssmall town commissioner says.

    May 19, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  12. M

    Hello 1962. It's now 2014.

    May 19, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    the sad part is thats not even the worst our law enforcement does to people or what they say about them

    May 19, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  14. lol

    Its Okay for a Black man to call another Black man N- Word cause they are friends , You white men want to call them N-Word cause you don"t like them due to their color

    May 19, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Dan

    Dislike Obama because he is a lousy president not because of skin color....If you want a black President get Clarence Thomas or Allen West.

    May 19, 2014 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. its Me

    Be nice can't we get along. We are all the same deep inside.

    May 19, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. CryBabies

    MnClownfactory...Slandering any race is wrong.

    May 19, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. noAd

    Sniffit - Romney has owned a home in that community for many, many years. So yes, he has some authority to weigh in - and I don't even like the guy.

    May 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. capiers

    He is a public figure and is suppose to represent the entire town fairly. There is no place for publically elected officials who think and act the way this man does. If you disagree then you still have along way to come, maybe you should hurry to catch up before you get left too far behind there is no catching up.

    May 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. EyesThatSee

    Another hateful old white male. How long until they're all gone? What the Obama family has to put up with, from White trash, on a daily basis, is disgraceful.

    May 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Tomadzo

    Did anybody ask him to define his criteria? How does one "exceed" the criteria?

    May 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. joejoethedogfaceboy

    Now he should move to one of the southern states and/or work for the FOX network where he would fit right in.

    May 19, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Thomas

    I didn't vote for Mitt Romney , yet I thank him for being one of the few republican gentlemen that are professional enough to not to enforce such Racism , my hats off to you Sir !

    @Anonymous
    Last time I checked, I hear black people saying the N-word all the time.

    ==

    If a black man uses the N word as slang amongst one another it is slang , If a white guy uses trailer trash as slang with a friends , it's slang , when a black man calls a white man Trailer Trash or a white guy calls a black man the N word it's racist .

    It's sad such words are used in high regard , generating with low self esteem or the lack of considerate understanding .

    Words can be , of can't be degrading .

    May 19, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. David

    Oh wah! Black people are the ones who use that word more then any other race and are the most prejudice and whine the most when another race says it, get over it.

    May 19, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. edutron

    Every president can be accounted for their origination except one! Guess who!

    May 19, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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