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. Betty

    He resigned, okay with that. However I do not think he should have to apologize for exercising his right of "Freedom of Speech"....That is if we still do have this right !!! I am so sick of all this to do about offending gay, black, women, illegal aliens, or anyone for that matter. Next we cannot joke about lawyers, politicians, blondes without being fined, fired, or put before a firing squad!!! Isn't America about freedom ? No wonder the American people are among the most unhappy citizens in the entire world. Buck up and be proud of who you are, and get the hell over it. There are always going to be people who disagree or don't approve of who you are or what you are doing. Stop the whining !

    May 19, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. jim kelly

    I agree with Copeland.......but at age 82....who needs to hear this kinda crap....... Im with you BOB....hold your head high

    May 19, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. much thunder...little rain

    fire all who use the n word black or white...opps no rap music ...double standard ?

    May 19, 2014 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. smitvict

    At least he wasn't recorded illegally in his own home.

    May 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Demigod Vadik, CA

    Good riddance...

    ...this is what happens when you leave Fox News world and enter the reality world...

    ...right wingers think that the whole country thinks like them, but they ONLY think that...

    May 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. jdw62305

    It looks like the pressure from Mitt Romney did the trick.
    that is leadership!

    May 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. ohsotired

    What a pathetic hateful man.

    May 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. woodie

    Make note he isn't from the south.

    May 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Mike

    I applaud the predominantly white community for speaking up! We need more people like them to stamp out the condoning of this state of mind, often held by our neighbors, friends, family members, and among all groups of people. (I purposely shied away from the term "race" due to the fact that it is only a tool and method to separate us among imaginary lines. Race does not your due diligence)

    May 19, 2014 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Robert Augeri

    This commissioner should not be fired for using the N word. Reason its all right for Jesse Jackson to call the president on open mic to call Obama a N and no consequence. People should wake up to what is happening in this country, I don't condone anyone calling other people names but other races have had nothing happen to them. There is a double standard in this country when it comes to black, and the people of New Hampshire should not ask for this police commissioner resignation. I could name many double standard but I think what the people of this state needs a history lesson in taking test and getting into areas of schooling.

    May 19, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Freddie Nerk

    Not surprising. This what the GOP, Fox, the NRA and the Tea Party have evolved into. Racism and bigotry against our President. I wonder if Hannity and Rove will champion his cause too.

    May 19, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. pete

    Now that's a man with guts of a dinosaur.

    May 19, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    What took so long?

    May 19, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Kaye


    May 19, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Joe

    i'm sure when he passes away (next year or so) his afterlife will be full of white people

    May 19, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Sheryl Mexic

    I would too, Michael, and I'm white.

    May 19, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. dogma1000

    Although I 100% agree he should resign and go away in shame. I will go to my grave saying the racist trash that is Charles Rangel should follow him out the door.

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

    There is no freedom of speech violation here. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism or consequences.

    May 19, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Dan Estrada

    There is no place for an individual with this view in America – and there NEVER should have been. The fact that we're approaching 150 years past slavery and this still exists is reprehenisble and in my judgement the result of NOT having been entirely intolerant of such views for most of that period. That this person was a public servant is horrifying to consider and the fact that he was in a position to, "...hire, fire, discipline officers and set salaries..." reflects on the judgment of those making decisions in the Wolfeboro community. Good riddance!

    May 19, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Miller

    Jesse Jackson has made several racist comments again those of the Jewish faith and never been asked to resign from his position, by his people....interesting double standard.

    May 19, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Walt

    "... crowd of angry residents ..."

    Happy and content residents rarely show up at such meeting.

    May 19, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. htenhoope

    Freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to insult or belittle another human being.

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

    It is good that commissioner has resigned after comments on President. But stigma on his image can never be obliterated causing damage to law of the land and code of conduct as well oath of allegiance to constitution of America.

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

    Typical right winger..

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

    this disrespectful old man should not show his bitter face again.shame on him

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