Wolfeboro police commissioner Copeland resigns under public pressure after calling Obama racial slur

Last modified: 5/20/2014 12:12:37 AM
UPDATED 3:20 p.m.

Embattled Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland has resigned.

He and other town officials have been bombarded with phone calls and emails from around the country from people upset that he used a racial slur to refer to President Obama. People had been threatening to cancel summer plans in the lakeside resort town if Copeland, 82, did not step down.

Town and state officials, including Gov. Maggie Hassan and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who owns a home in Wolfeboro, had called on him to step down last week and over the weekend.

Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni, Jr., met with Copeland last night to convince him to resign.

“He was very nice, very polite. I said, ‘Bob you’ve gotta step down, everybody says you have to resign,’ ” Balboni said. He kept saying, ‘I’ll think about it’ and I said, ‘Bob, we gotta be serious now.’ ”

Balboni said he has received at least 100 emails from people across the country – friends and strangers – since more than 100 people attended a meeting Thursday to call on Copeland to resign.

They were upset with remarks he made in a restaurant in March, shortly before he was elected to his second three-year term on the commission.

He called the president “that f------ n-----,” and was overheard by a local resident who complained to the town manager and later the rest of the commission.

In his response to the commission, which was later printed in the local weekly paper, Copeland wrote “I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse (sic). For this I do not apologize – he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Town Manager David Owen said he will be looking into the process for filling Copeland’s seat, if there is one outlined in the town ordinances.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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