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Town upset police official used ‘N’ word for Obama

By LYNNE TUOHY Published: May 15, 2014
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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Some residents of a predominantly white New Hampshire town are upset with racist remarks they say a police commissioner has made about President Barack Obama.

Resident Jane O’Toole said she overheard Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland use a racial slur in describing Obama. And in an email to her obtained by The Associated Press, Copeland acknowledged using the “N” word in referring to the president and said he will not apologize.

Copeland is one of three members of the police commission, which hires, fires and disciplines officers and sets their salaries.

Wolfeboro Town Manager David Owen said Thursday that while he finds Copeland’s comment “reprehensible,” he and the board of selectmen have no authority to remove an elected official. Owen said he expects a large number of residents will call for Copeland’s resignation at a police commission meeting, adding “more power to them.”

Copeland has declined to be interviewed. Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. told the Concord Monitor he doesn’t plan to ask Copeland to resign. He said, “He’s (Copeland) worked with a lot of blacks in his life … He said some harsh words about Mr. Obama, and here we are. This woman, she’s blowing it all out of proportion.”

Balboni did not respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.

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