NH official who used racial slur to describe Obama won't apologize

May 15, 2014, 8:32 am
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Photo courtesy of Thomas Beeler, Granite State News.

A member of the Police Commission in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire who used a racial slur to describe President Barack Obama is refusing to apologize, according to the Union Leader.

The New Hampshire newspaper reports that Bob Copeland, an 82-year-old retiree, used the N-word to describe the president while dining at a Wolfeboro restaurant in March. Wolfeboro resident Jane O'Toole overheard Copeland using the word and publicized the incident on Facebook and in a letter to the editor to a local newspaper. In an email, Copeland later defended his use of the term, saying Obama "meets and exceeds my criteria" for using the racial slur.

O'Toole wrote in her letter to the editor to the weekly Granite State News that she confronted Copeland about his remarks, saying, "Is someone here tossing around the 'N' word?" and she said he responded with an exuberant "Yeah!" Incensed, O'Toole said she complained to the town manager, who shared her complaint with the Board of Selectmen and the Police Commission.

Copeland then sent O'Toole an email at the request of Police Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. in which he refused to apologize for his remarks.

"While I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous, I am not phobic," Copeland wrote. "My use of derogatory slang in reference to those among them undeserving of respect is no secret. It is the exercise of my 1st Amendment rights... 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."

The issue is expected to come to a head on Thursday afternoon, when the Wolfeboro Police Commission is scheduled to meet.

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Tags: barack Obama, Wolfeboro, Bob Copeland
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