In a time where we are so advanced it amazes me how small minded some people can still be! In Wolfeboro New Hampshire, a police commissioner by the name of Robert Copeland has set us back hundreds of years.
Police Commissioner Copeland, 82, has acknowledged in an email to his colleagues that he used a racial slur when referencing the President of the United States Barack Obama. In an email, he admitted to calling the President the N-word. To make matters worse he also said he will not apologize for it.
Wolfeboro New Hampshire is a predominantly white town. In a town of 6,300 residents 94% are white, and only 1% is black. About 20 people in total live in Wolfeboro, none of the town’s twelve full-time officers are black.
Yesterday, the town held a meeting to discuss the resignation of Police Commissioner Copeland. He is one of three members of the police commission; this man is an elected official! He hires, fires, and sets the officers’ salaries. In March, Copeland ran unopposed for re-election and secured another three-year term.
While at the meeting, Copeland told everyone he will not apologize for calling the President the N-word. He sat through the rest of the meeting with his arms crossed while angry residents demanded his resignation. More than 100 people packed themselves into the meeting room at the Wolfeboro Public Library. Librarian, Joyce Davis, says she cannot remember an issue in the last forty years that has caused so much emotion and outrage. Many of the people wore handmade stickers on their shirts saying, “Resign,” directed at Copeland.
Town Manager David Owen, said while he finds Copeland’s comment “reprehensible,” he and the board of selectmen have no authority to remove an elected official.
Town resident Jane O’Toole, in her rage said, “Comments like these, especially coming from a public official, are not only inexcusable but also terribly, unfortunately, reflects poorly on our town.”
In response to a challenge from O’Toole about whether he and Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. endorse Copeland’s comments, Commissioner Ron Goodgame replied, “It’s neither my view nor Commissioner Balboni’s view that the remarks are condoned.”
Balboni told the Concord Monitor he did not plan to ask Copeland to resign. After the meeting, he said the other two commissioners would meet privately to “solve the matter” before making an announcement.
Out of nearly two dozen speakers who called for Copeland’s resignation, two residents defended him. Frank Bader, one of Copeland’s supporters, mocked anyone who took offense to Copeland’s comment, “All this man did was express his displeasure with the man who’s in office,” Bader said.
After Balboni closed the meeting’s public comment portion, the disgruntled crowd descended toward Copeland as he remained seated at the commissioners table refusing to engage with them. Balboni added, “I want to think about what’s going on and decide.”