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Town's white police official calls Obama N-word

Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A police commissioner in a predominantly white New Hampshire town says he won't apologize for calling President Barack Obama the N-word, and he sat with his arms crossed while angry residents at a meeting called for his resignation on Thursday.

Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, who's 82 and white, has acknowledged in an email to his fellow police commissioners he used the racial slur in describing Obama.

Town resident Jane O'Toole, who moved to Wolfeboro four months ago, said she overheard Copeland say the slur at a restaurant in March and wrote to the town manager about it soon after. In an email to her, Copeland 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 the email to his fellow police commissioners, part of which he forwarded to O'Toole. "For this, I do not apologize - he meets and exceeds my criteria for such."

Copeland, who has declined to be interviewed, is one of three members of the police commission, which hires, fires and disciplines officers and sets their salaries. He ran unopposed for re-election to the commission and secured another three-year term on March 11.

About 20 black people live in Wolfeboro, a town of 6,300 residents in the scenic Lakes Region, in the central part of New Hampshire. The town manager's office said none of the police department's 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority. One of its part-time officers is black.

Town Manager David Owen said Thursday that while he finds Copeland's comment "reprehensible," he and the board of selectmen have no authority to remove an elected official. He said he expected a large number of residents would call for Copeland's resignation at the police commission meeting on Thursday, and they did.

More than 100 people packed into the meeting room at the Wolfeboro Public Library, many of them wearing on their shirts handmade stickers saying, "Resign."

"Comments like these, especially coming from a public official, are not only inexcusable but also terribly, unfortunately, reflects poorly on our town," said O'Toole, who was the first to speak and was met with resounding applause.

Commissioner Ron Goodgame, in response to a challenge from O'Toole about whether he and Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. endorse Copeland's comments, said, "It's neither my view or Commissioner Balboni's view that the remarks are condoned."

Balboni told the Concord Monitor he didn't plan to ask Copeland to resign.

Another speaker at the meeting was Ethan Hipple, director of parks and recreation for the town.

"It's a sad day when an elected official lets loose with this hateful speech," Hipple said, "but I think it's a great day for the community when it stands up and does not allow this kind of hateful speech in this town."

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Richard & Susann May 16 2014 at 8:45 PM

Wow, another error in describing Obama. Obama had a white mother and East Asian father which would make him a half breed or as some would say east Asian-American. He is not black nor a "N" even though lots of people will claim otherwise. As for the comment, I read it as something the commissioner said to his friends and somebody sitting nearby decided to listen in. Let it go people, only someone making a mountain out of a mole hill.

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1 reply
anthontruth19 Richard & Susann May 17 2014 at 3:30 PM

Thank you Richard and Susann for showing the world your nature and mindset if you are caucasain.

Peace! :)

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portaltest24 May 15 2014 at 6:07 PM

it is a call

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Hello May 15 2014 at 6:12 PM


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floatgod May 15 2014 at 6:29 PM

The "N" word police are out in force to exact their pound of flesh from another white.
Dean, Sterling and Copeland, oh my!
Menawhile blacks may use the word with impunity.

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1 reply
dchar106 floatgod May 15 2014 at 7:37 PM

Blacks use it similar to any race using racial terms wihin the particular race. italian americans spout racial slurs decribing thier own ethinc group, however, I would never say them to my Italian American friends because I am not in that ethnic group. All other ethnic groups do it...but African Americans are villified when they do the same thing. The real issue is the conduct of an official who's position denotes objectivity in civil service....If he feels that way about the President of the U.S. I wonder how he feels about an everyday black citizen....hmmm.

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kenisha.james May 15 2014 at 6:30 PM

People, people , people! Stop being overly sensitive!

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1 reply
afu2878455 kenisha.james May 16 2014 at 9:01 AM

This is not being overly sensitive! I've raised my children to never use racial slurs like this to describe anyone and what kind of lesson does it send when they hear elected officials (or anyone in a position of authority, for that matter) using language like this to not only describe someone of another race, but the duly-elected President of our country. Whether you like or agree with him or not is beside the point; the office he holds deserves our respect, and I believe that we as a people and a country shame ourselves when we not only use terms like this, but also when we think there's nothing objectionable about them!

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tylerdetalz May 15 2014 at 6:30 PM

finally someone with the backbone to say how it really is

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3 replies
integr8er May 15 2014 at 6:31 PM

He has every right to call him anything he wants, and why would he resign for saying something he believes? I support him 100%.

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1 reply
mron53 integr8er May 15 2014 at 6:42 PM

And the town have every right to fire him.

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aruba04 May 15 2014 at 6:32 PM

He meets & exceeds mine also

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Sarol Ann May 15 2014 at 6:32 PM

What's the problem. Freedom of speech is what the liberal media dictates daily. Respect his constitutional rights.

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3 replies
Linda Bender May 15 2014 at 6:35 PM

He is an old white racist and his kind don't belong on the payroll. He's too old anyway.

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