N.H. Police Commissioner Called Obama N-word, Won’t Apologize

Lauren Eissler Contributor
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A New Hampshire police commissioner called President Barack Obama the N-word, and now the official won’t apologize.

According to the Associated Press, Wolfeboro resident Jane O’Toole said she overheard Police Commissioner Robert Copeland use the slur in March. Copeland, 82 and white, emailed her, acknowledging the slur, but refused to apologize.

He said in an email to fellow commissioners, “I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For this, I do not apologize – he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.” Copeland also forwarded part of this message to O’Toole.

O’Toole complained to Town Manager David Owen. Owen said he and the board of selectmen don’t have the authority to remove an elected official, but expected an outcry at the police commission meeting.

And there was.

The meeting at the Wolfeboro Public Library drew over 100 people, many wearing stickers calling for Copeland’s resignation.

There, O’Toole said to applause, “Comments like these, especially coming from a public official, are not only inexcusable but also terribly, unfortunately, reflects poorly on our town.”

Almost two dozen people spoke out for Copeland to quit, but two spoke in his defense, including resident Frank Bader.

“All this man did was express his displeasure with the man who’s in office,” Bader said.

At the end of the public comment section of the meeting, Copeland, who was still at the commissioner’s table, refused to talk to audience members.

Copeland, one of three members of the police commission, won his unopposed re-election on March 11 and will serve another three years.

Another commissioner, Rod Goodgame, was asked by O’Toole if he and Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. support Copeland’s comments. But Goodgame said, “It’s neither my view or Commissioner Balboni’s view that the remarks are condoned.”

Balboni said the three commissioners would announce their decision after meeting privately to “solve the matter” and told the Concord Monitor that he wasn’t going to ask for the police commissioner’s resignation.