Calls for Resignation After NH Police Commissioner Describes Obama Using N-Word

Resisting pressure to resign: Robert Copeland
Resisting pressure to resign: Robert Copeland

After being overheard while talking “loudly” in a local restaurant, New Hampshire Police Commissioner Robert Copeland is refusing to resign, or even apologize for using the N-word in reference to President Barack Obama.

“I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse (sic),” Copeland wrote in an email to his fellow commissioners. “For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Copeland is 82 years old and was re-elected to an additional three-year term in March in the town of Wolfeboro, a mostly white resort town of 6,300 along the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in central New Hampshire. He shares his position with three other police commissioners.

The trouble began last March when a resident of the town submitted a complaint to the town manager about Copeland’s distasteful word choice. Town Manager David Owen agreed with the residents about the “reprehensible” nature of the comment, but also said that the board does not have the authority to remove an elected official from his position.

Last Thursday the town held a meeting in which over 100 residents crammed into the Police Commission meeting demanding Copeland’s resignation. Local and state officials have fielded complaints from as far away as California, demanding the ousting of Copeland.

Sarah Silk, vice chairwoman of the town’s Board of Selectman joined the chorus pushing Copeland to resign.

“I know there are people trying to convince him to resign, but he seems entrenched in his position,” Silk said. “He could stop this runaway train.”

On Friday Owen posted a message to the town’s website urging Copeland to resign to save the town further embarrassment.

New Hampshire is about 94 percent white and 1 percent black, with 20 blacks residing in Wolfeboro. There are no blacks among the 12 full-time officers of the police department, or are there members of any other minorities.

Gail Nussbaum

Gail Nussbaum has been involved in politics and diplomacy for over 15 years. Her interest in foreign relations, economics and budget policy has led her to her position as fiscal policy writer at Left Justified. Gail can be contacted at gailnussbaum(at)

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