New Hampshire town urges police commissioner to quit over Obama racial slur

Reuters News
Posted: May 16, 2014 12:51 PM

BOSTON (Reuters) - Officials in a small New Hampshire town on Friday urged a police commissioner to resign after he admitted calling U.S. President Barack Obama the 'N' word and refused to apologize.

A resident said she overheard Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland use the racial slur at a restaurant in March, and Copeland later admitted it in an email to colleagues.

"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," he said in the email to fellow commissioners, according to the Associated Press.

Residents expressed outrage at a public meeting on Thursday night calling for Copeland, who is 82 and white, to step down and apologize. Copeland sat silently with his arms crossed as angry residents took turns at the microphone.

Town Manager David Owen on Friday issued a statement on a town web site saying he and the town board of selectmen were powerless to remove Copeland from his position.

"Therefore, we are hopeful that Mr. Copeland will accede to the public outcry and finally do the right thing and resign from his elected position to save the Town any further embarrassment of his making," Owen said in the statement.

A police official was not immediately available to comment.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Gunna Dickson)