Angry residents of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire called for their police commissioner’s resignation after he was overheard calling President Obama a racial slur—and then refused to apologize.
82-year-old Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland admitted in an email to colleagues that he had indeed referred to Obama as the “N-word,” according to the New York Daily News.
“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. “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”
It was town resident Jane O’Toole who overheard the comment, in March at a local restaurant.
"It's not like I was eavesdropping. Mr. Copeland was being very loud," O'Toole told WMUR.
The unrepentant commissioner even forwarded part of his email to O’Toole.
One of the commissioner's hires who works during the summer tourist season, Carroll County Deputy Sheriff Paul Bois, is one of about 20 black residents of the 6,000-person town.
When asked to comment on Copeland’s remark, he told press, “I’d love to, but I can’t.”
There are no people of color on the police department’s 12-member full-time staff.
For his part, Copeland has declined to be interviewed.
Copeland ran unopposed for re-election in March, winning another three-year term. He is one of three members of the police commission.
O’Toole, who moved to Wolfeboro four months ago, spoke out at a town meeting at the public library. 100 people were gathered to call for the commissioner’s resignation, many wearing handmade “Resign” stickers.
“Comments like these, especially coming from a public official, are not only inexcusable but also terribly, unfortunately, reflects poorly on our town,” O’Toole said, to loud applause.
Librarian Joyce Davis said that she can’t remember any issue making such waves in the small town in her 40 years there.
Commissioner Ron Goodgame said that he and Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. didn’t “condone” Copeland’s remarks, but neither said that they would ask for the shamed commissioner’s resignation.
“I want to think about what’s going on and decide,” Balboni said at the meeting’s close.
Wolfeboro Police Chief Stuart Chase told CNN that Copeland can’t be "fired" since he’s an elected official.