The daughter of the Wolfeboro police official who resigned Sunday amid a nationwide furor after calling President Obama a racial slur defended her 82-year-old father as a “passionate” but “curmudgeonly” man whose private remarks shouldn’t be used to paint him as a bigot.
“My father is by no means a racist,” Kimberly Silacci, 46, said of Robert Copeland, the police commissioner who admitted to using the N-word to describe Obama in a restaurant in March. Until Sunday night, Copeland had refused to step down.
“He does have strong feelings against our president. He doesn’t care for him. In fact, he feels he is endangering our country,” Silacci said of her dad, a Republican. “That comment was an attempt to express to a very close friend some very strong feelings. But it was not to imply feelings he has for people of color. He is one of the most loving individuals.”
Copeland had admitted he used the slur, adding Obama “meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”But Silacci said her father, at the urging of family members, relented and resigned to dull the backlash against the tiny Lake Winnipesaukee resort town. Town Manager David Owen said he’s getting calls and emails from people across the country saying they’re canceling travel plans.
Silacci said her parents “really couldn’t sleep at night thinking that something he had done was hurting the town.” She said her father is a Belmont native who worked in the auto industry near Detroit and retired to Wolfeboro more than two decades ago.
“We all told him, ‘Dad you should have been more careful. What were you thinking?’” she said. “But I really feel he was so misrepresented. ... Don’t we all know a curmudgeonly old individual who uses some colorful language at times?”