Robert Copeland Resigns as NH Top Cop After Racist Obama Comment

Image: Robert Copeland Resigns as NH Top Cop After Racist Obama Comment

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 10:32 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Robert Copeland resigned as Wolfeboro, New Hampsire's police commissioner Monday, succumbing to the many demands to step down after he uttered a racial slur in reference to President Barack Obama.

Copeland stepped down from his office with a simple email that read "I resign" to Wolfeboro Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr., according to the Concord Monitor.

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According to the local paper, Balboni approached the 82-year-old Copeland Sunday night and asked to him to step down from his post.

"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.'"

The controversy stemmed from Copeland referring to Obama as a "f***ing [N-Word]" while speaking to friends at a New Hampshire restaurant in March. The racial slur was overheard by another patron, Jane O'Toole, who recently moved to the community four months earlier. O'Toole subsequently informed other town officials of what she heard.

Copeland acknowledged in an email to fellow police commissioners that he had used the slur, writing, "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."

The controversy catapulted the sleepy lakeside community of Wolfeboro, which is said to have just 6,300 residents, into the national spotlight. Even former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has a home in Wolfeboro, weighed in and demanded that the police commissioner resign from his post.

"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 this week.

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"I wish he would have resigned a lot earlier, and it would have caused a lot less anxiety around the community and everywhere else," Town Manager David Owen told the Concord Monitor after Copeland's resignation was announced.

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