Small-town police commissioner resigns after racial slur against Obama
(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.
“Dear Commission Chairman Balboni, I resign,” wrote Copeland in the email.
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.