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Wolfeboro town manager asks police commissioner to resign over Obama slur

  • Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Barack Obama the N-word at a restaurant. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Barack Obama the N-word at a restaurant. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Town resident Jane O'Toole, lower right, talks with town residents before speaking at a meeting Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. O'Toole says she heard a police commissioner in her town, Robert Copeland, use a raciest slur referring to President Obama and asked for his resignation. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Town resident Jane O'Toole, lower right, talks with town residents before speaking at a meeting Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. O'Toole says she heard a police commissioner in her town, Robert Copeland, use a raciest slur referring to President Obama and asked for his resignation. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • In this photo taken Thursday May 15, 2014 Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland is seen before the start of their monthly meeting with the police department. At the public meeting residents in town spoke up calling for the resignation of Copeland who made racist remarks about President Barack Obama at a restaurant. Lawyers and Wolfeboro town officials say the 3-member police commission may run afoul of right-to-know laws if, as they say, they will meet privately to resolve the matter.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    In this photo taken Thursday May 15, 2014 Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland is seen before the start of their monthly meeting with the police department. At the public meeting residents in town spoke up calling for the resignation of Copeland who made racist remarks about President Barack Obama at a restaurant. Lawyers and Wolfeboro town officials say the 3-member police commission may run afoul of right-to-know laws if, as they say, they will meet privately to resolve the matter.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • In this photo taken Thursday May 15, 2014 Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland is seen at the end of their monthly meeting with the police department. At the public meeting residents in town spoke up calling for the resignation of Copeland who made racist remarks about President Barack Obama at a restaurant. lawyers and Wolfeboro town officials say the 3-member police commission may run afoul of right-to-know laws if, as they say, they will meet privately to resolve the matter.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    In this photo taken Thursday May 15, 2014 Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland is seen at the end of their monthly meeting with the police department. At the public meeting residents in town spoke up calling for the resignation of Copeland who made racist remarks about President Barack Obama at a restaurant. lawyers and Wolfeboro town officials say the 3-member police commission may run afoul of right-to-know laws if, as they say, they will meet privately to resolve the matter.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Barack Obama the N-word at a restaurant. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Barack Obama the N-word at a restaurant. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Barack Obama the N-word at a restaurant. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
  • Town resident Jane O'Toole, lower right, talks with town residents before speaking at a meeting Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. O'Toole says she heard a police commissioner in her town, Robert Copeland, use a raciest slur referring to President Obama and asked for his resignation. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
  • In this photo taken Thursday May 15, 2014 Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland is seen before the start of their monthly meeting with the police department. At the public meeting residents in town spoke up calling for the resignation of Copeland who made racist remarks about President Barack Obama at a restaurant. Lawyers and Wolfeboro town officials say the 3-member police commission may run afoul of right-to-know laws if, as they say, they will meet privately to resolve the matter.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
  • In this photo taken Thursday May 15, 2014 Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland is seen at the end of their monthly meeting with the police department. At the public meeting residents in town spoke up calling for the resignation of Copeland who made racist remarks about President Barack Obama at a restaurant. lawyers and Wolfeboro town officials say the 3-member police commission may run afoul of right-to-know laws if, as they say, they will meet privately to resolve the matter.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)
  • Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens Thursday May 15, 2014 in Wolfeboro, N.H. as town residents ask for his resignation after being overheard calling President Barack Obama the N-word at a restaurant. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Political leaders in Wolfeboro have officially joined residents in demanding the resignation of a police commissioner who uttered a racial slur about President Obama.

Wolfeboro Town Manager David Owen posted a message yesterday on the town’s website calling on Bob Copeland to resign the post to which he was re-elected in March. In the post, Owen said Copeland’s comments are “appalling,” and called on him to save the town further embarrassment.

State and local officials said they’ve gotten complaints from as far away as California from people upset about the comments. Some have threatened to cancel vacations to New Hampshire. Wolfeboro is a predominantly white resort town of 6,300 on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee.

Concord Mayor Jim Bouley said some of the angry calls included threats to cancel vacations in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire tourism spokesman Tai Freligh said his office also has gotten complaints about the comments.

Sen. Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican, called Copeland on the phone yesterday and asked him to resign.

The vice chairwoman of the town’s board of selectmen also pushed Copeland to step down.

“I know there are people trying to convince him to resign, but he seems entrenched in his position,” said Sarah Silk. “He could stop this runaway train.”

More than 100 residents packed a Police Commission meeting Thursday to demand the resignation of Copeland, 82.

About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro in central New Hampshire, a state that’s 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the police department’s 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority.

A resident said she overheard Copeland use a slur at a restaurant in March and wrote to the town manager. Copeland, in an email to her, acknowledged using the slur in referring to the president and said he will not apologize.

“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” Copeland said in an email to his fellow police commissioners. “For this, I do not apologize – he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Officials said resignation is the only way to get Copeland out of office before his three-year term expires. New Hampshire has no recall provision for elected officials.

Wolfeboro Police Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni said at the close of Thursday’s meeting that the three commissioners would meet privately in the near future to “solve the problem” but that no date has been set.

Experts on the state’s open meeting law differ on whether such a meeting would have to be conducted in public.

Wolfeboro’s town counsel, Mark Puffer, would not comment yesterday on whether the commission could meet privately.

(Monitor staff contributed to this report.)

Legacy Comments21

I don't find it odd that bigotry and racism are unacceptable to everyone but a few, out of touch with reality, Conservatives. They couldn't possibly win an election without them. Nixon was a very smart man when he came up with the "Southern Strategy".

tillie, tillie, tillie; Did Copeland's position on the three-person Police Commission of Wolfeboro require him to take an oath to respect the President of the US? The NH Constitution required him to take an oath to allegiance to the United States, but does disparaging the President make Copeland a Benedict Arnold? I'm also not aware that the phrase "with all due respect" has anything to do with anyone's respect/disrespect for the President. In fact, the worst insults ever levied are often prefaced with those exact words. So, I must question your understanding of this particular phrase, tillie. Yet, as always...and with all due respect...Wikipedia has nuthin' on you.

There is something forgotten here. Whether Mr. Copeland agrees with Obama or not, as a public official he must have taken some kind of oath and he should respect the President and the office he holds. That is where the phrase "with all due respect " comes from. This man does not even seem to respect his own office and how he should conduct himself when out in public.

In that case, then let's demand that Obama upholds his oath of office to enforce ALL laws on the book. He can't pick and choose which ones to follow, granting the Dream Act, refusing to secure the border, etc. So if an oath is good for one public official, it is good for another.

As a public official, he must be aware of the damage he is inflicting on his town, the nation's oldest resort community, as well as to New Hampshire as a whole. If he cares a whit about his hometown and his state, he will do the right thing. Resign.

It is doubtful that it will impact tourism at all. Moreover, this whole thing remids me of Salem in 1692. It also sounds a bit like Joe McCarthy but instead a person expresses his opinion, as distasteful as it may be and others are judge, jury and executioner with no questions asked.

- A handful of public officials ask Copeland to resign to protect the town's tourism money - Other Police commissioners defending Copeland - An all-white police force (Surprise -- NOT) - All of 1.5% of the town population show up at a meeting to demand Copeland's resignation Copeland and his ignorant, racist and hateful beliefs are obviously supported by the majority of Wolfeboro and the Wolfeboro Police Force. Even more obvious is that persons of minority descent would not be welcome in the town, except for the money they spend as tourists. I wonder how many falsified traffic incidents there are during tourist season. I and my family and friends sure won't ever go there.

Oh come on people, what a politician says on his off-time is his own business of the meddler made this private discussion a public issue by putting up the bridge rather than the wall of if she didn't like what he had to say of why didn't she confront him then and there? instead of drumming up support from others to TRY to oust him from office. The opposite of nigger is what? honkey? of in other words: "white trash , right? All Mr. Copeland did was tell whoever sitting down at the café having what? black coffee? or with cream? (;-) of his opinion. In what context did Mr. Copeland say this? The word niggardly refers to some fuss over small matters, as in "stingy". So Obama stingy in what? Not giving enough Federal Funds to Wolfeboro? What's worse than stingy is the word zero at nothing, of like there being ZERO papers from that 40USC255 to 3112 agent of "Uncle Sam" to our Secretary of State* by RSA Ch. 123:1 because only then do the Feds get the RSA Chapter 123:2 exemption for their land. So until people like Jeb Bradley who KNOW this but look AWAY from law enforcement apologize for having their Article 67 agent* file an anti Article 14 in-complete as a false Annual Report to the G&C of with-OUT there being ANY number, then to stop being like the "pot calling the kettle black"! Two wrongs do not make a right. The worse wrong is that of DO-ing wrong rather than SAY-ing what MIGHT be wrong, as the President might have been generous in whatever Copeland was talking about.

Why would you defend a bigot. He's only one step above child molester in my book.

Hey Devil Doc, Do you even know what a bigot is? http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot " a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group) " of has Copeland since the statement about Obama made other comments or opinions in the plural against others? The French definition of a bigot is a hypocrite, of that's what I did write of Bradley yesterday, of him like the pot calling the kettle black of that UNTIL his agent DOES what he is supposed to DO by a proper accounting is to "count" the # of Federal papers at zero and Annual Report same to the G&C of that anything SAID by Bradley of for some-body else to DO some-thing else is hypocrisy!

Yea, I know what a bigot is. Do you know what a preposition is? What is with you and the word "of". Your posts are nearly incomprehensible.

Doc, you're obviously much more clever than I. Joey H's posts are TOTALLY incomprehensible to me.

As Patrick Magoohan aka Number Six (6) used to say on "The Prisoner" TV series, "of" the 1960s, "of" like what he said: I am NOT a kangaroo (joey) BUT a free man! "Of" too many people wanting to play like what Morton Downey, Jr. used to say, "of" to: Zip It! (;-)

lol

Leave the poor man alone. Have you ever heard the term sicks and stones may break my bone butNAMES never hurt me. Get over YOUSELVES!!!!!

For Bob Copeland to remain in his current capacity as Police Commissioner of Wolfeboro, would be to condone his recent slur against not just the President of the United States, but against an entire race of people. If the town won't make him step down, then the State of New Hampshire definitely should. Copeland does not represent the Granite State, in any way, shape or form, and the rest of the world needs to know it.

This isn't going to go away. He has to go. The longer he waits to resign the more the rest of us will suffer from his poor judgement.

I find this fascinating for several reasons. Most interesting to me is observing the differences in board meetings here in NH. At this one, many people spoke at the podium. Now at the Gilford board meeting the 2 minute rule was in effect. At this meeting, the 3 minute rule was in effect. The 2 minute rule was strictly enforced at Gilford, while at this meeting, one speaker went on for over 10 minutes. One speaker at this meeting, who spoke in support of Copeland, was mocked, laughed at, many people spoke out from the crowd as he spoke. At Gilford, this type of interruption got a man arrested. Also interesting is the confrontation after the meeting in the parking lot. Would this type of confrontation in Gilford ended in yet more arrests?? I believe it would. So there you go..my .02..btw...here is the youtube of the meeting...http://youtu.be/-NKi7o2Y_MM

Mr. Copeland has a red face in this pic. Do the right thing Mr. Copeland, and resign, and save what small amount of dignity the residents of Wolfeboro have left...

Wonder if the red face is from embarrassment or a symptom of alcoholism?

Note how Balboni uses 'Mr. Obama' to refer to President Obama. This is a thinly disguised insult that the right frequently uses. Balboni should resign as well for siding with his racist colleague Copeland. I've been to Wolfboro many times, but I won't even step on NH soil until these two goons are gone.

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