Racist police commissioner resigns after calling President the n-word

Robert Copeland of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, ignited a firestorm and had refused to apologize

Topics: Robert Copeland, n-word, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Race, Racism, Police, ,

Racist police commissioner resigns after calling President the n-wordRobert Copeland (Credit: AP/Jim Cole)

Robert Copeland, the Wolfeboro New Hampshire Police Commissioner who recently referred to the President Barack Obama using the n-word, has resigned, according to town officials.

In a statement released Monday, Wolfeboro Police Commission Chair Joe Balboni, Jr., confirmed Copeland’s resignation, stating that he received an email at 10:34 p.m. on Sunday night that read: “Dear Commission Chairman Balboni, I resign. Bob Copeland.”

Following Copeland’s alleged remarks, more than 100 residents showed up to voice their concern at a town meeting.

Wolfeboro Town Manager, David Owen, called Copeland’s comments “reprehensible and totally inconsistent with the Town’s open and welcoming character,” adding that “Mr. Copeland’s views are in no way representative of the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Wolfeboro, its administration, or the men and women of the Wolfeboro Police Department.”

Even Barack Obama’s former presidential opponent, Mitt Romney, who owns a home in the Wolfeboro, chimed in, calling the commissioner’s remarks a “vile epithet” that “has no place in our community.”

“He should apologize and resign,” Romney added.

But Copeland stood by his words:

 “I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse,” Copeland said in an excerpt from an email he sent to his fellow police commissioners acknowledging his remark and then forwarded to O’Toole. “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Copeland also wrote: “While I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous, I am not phobic.”



Copeland, an 82-year-old retired corporate attorney, has also served as an officer with the U.S. Navy. He had recently been elected to his second, three-year term, in March.

Town resident Jane O’Toole, who first reported Copeland’s remarks, expressed her gratitude and is happy to move on.

“We can get back to business in this beautiful resort community and we can stop talking about this,” O’Toole said, adding “hopefully, we’ve taught our children a lesson that you can stand up and make a difference.”

Ian Blair is a Master's Candidate in the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU. Follow him on Twitter: @i2theb.

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