Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland listens as town residents ask for his resignation amid the furore over his racist remarks about President Barack Obama. Picture: Jim Cole


Wolfeboro, New Hampshire -

The police commissioner of a small US town resigned after he admitted using a racial slur to describe President Barack Obama, a town official said on Monday.

Robert Copeland, 82, resigned on Sunday night from the post to which he was re-elected in March, putting to rest a controversy that drew national attention and sparked impassioned debate in this resort town of 6 300 on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee, Board of Selectmen Chair Linda Murray said.

Copeland has not returned several calls seeking comment.

At a meeting last week, Copeland defiantly sat with his arms folded as more than 100 residents pushed for his ousting and tore into his comments, saying he didn't speak for the town or its people.

Copeland admitted using the slur, preceded by an obscenity, while he was at a restaurant in March. A resident overheard him and complained to town officials when she learned that Copeland was a police commissioner.

“I believe I did use the 'N' word in reference to the current occupant of the White House,” Copeland said in the April email sent to the two other commissioners and forwarded to O'Toole. “For this, I do not apologise - he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential nominee and the former Massachusetts governor, owns a home in the town and called for Copeland's resignation, saying “the vile epithet used and confirmed by the commissioner has no place in our community”.

About 20 black people live year-round in Wolfeboro, in the scenic Lakes Region of New Hampshire, a state that's 94 percent white and 1 percent black. None of the town police department's 12 full-time officers is black or a member of another minority. - Sapa-AP