Police commissioner in NH resigns after calling Obama the 'N' word

BOSTON Mon May 19, 2014 3:52pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama talks while having lunch with construction workers at Shake Shack in Washington May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama talks while having lunch with construction workers at Shake Shack in Washington May 16, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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BOSTON (Reuters) - A police commissioner in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, has resigned under fire from town officials and residents after he called President Barack Obama the "N" word and refused to apologize, the police department said on Monday.

Police Commissioner Robert Copeland was overheard using the racial slur at a restaurant in the town in March and later admitted it in an email to colleagues, saying: "For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such."

The incident caused an uproar in the town, a popular summer tourist destination on Lake Winnipesaukee. Residents harangued Copeland, who is 82 and white, at a public meeting last week, and Town Manager David Owen issued a statement on Friday urging Copeland to step down and "save the Town any further embarrassment of his making."

The Wolfeboro police department said in a press release that Copeland resigned by email on Sunday night, and that the resignation was accepted by his fellow commissioners, "noting the action was in the best interests of the town, the commission and the police department."

Copeland had recently been elected to a three-year term on the commission, according to the press release.

(Reporting by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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