NH police commisisoner resigns after racist rant about Obama - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

NH police commisisoner resigns after racist rant about Obama

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NBC News

WOLFEBORO, NH - The Wolfeboro, New Hampshire police commissioner who used a racial slur to describe President Barack Obama has resigned, the police department confirmed Monday.
Wolfeboro resident Jane O'Toole said she overheard Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland make the racist remark in a local restaurant in March and wrote to the town manager about the incident. Copeland wrote an email acknowledging he said the slur which read, "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 town manager, selectmen and Mitt Romney had all called for Copeland's resignation, and more than 100 residents packed a police commission meeting held last week. But until Monday, Copeland had insisted he wasn't going to step down. Police commissioner is an elected position in Wolfeboro.
Copeland submitted his resignation on Sunday night. It consisted of just one line, reading "I resign."
"The town is pleased," Board of Selectmen Chair Linda Murray told the Associated Press. "This gives us the opportunity to move on."
Copeland isn't the only one dealing with fallout from his remarks. Since last week, O'Toole said she has been getting threatening phone calls.
"It's been a crazy week," O'Toole said Monday. She said she's received about 7 or 8 calls from people all over the country. One was very supportive, but she said the rest have been offensive, bizarre, and in some cases even threatening.
"One man said, 'I'm gonna tell you, someone's going to beat you up,'" O'Toole said. He called back later and said that he was a giant ant and was going to chew her head off.
Another caller was drunk, she said, and told her to "leave the commissioner alone." And yet another told her she should "stick with her own."
Online and around town, O'Toole said she's received a far different reception. She's still new to town, having moved there from Portsmouth in November.
"The people in town and online have been enormously supportive," she said. "The overall reaction to this has been enormously positive. My town has been enormously supportive.
"I walk downtown and people thank me, people cry. The amount of support has far outweighed the wackos."
Town Manager David Owen said the town has received "hundreds" of emails and phone calls from all over the country since Copeland's comments were made public.
"Some of them have been pretty vile and many are misinformed," he said, noting that Copeland is an elected police commissioner, and not the police chief, a police officer, or the mayor, as some callers seem to think.
Owen said some people are threatening to cancel vacations or visits to Wolfeboro in the wake of the controversy.
But O'Toole said she doesn't think that will happen.
"If you're a bigot or a racist, don't bother coming here," she said. "We're 'Live Free or Die.' You can live here if you're black, Hispanic… Whatever you want to be, we're open to it. We're an open town, we're a town that stood up and said, 'This is not right.'
"This town is united in its stance against this. There's no reason why anyone should boycott this town. This is an open, welcoming town."
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