Letter: No Defense of Police Commissioner

To the Editor:

Richard Chapman’s recent letter (“Small Price to Pay for Freedom,” May 20), attempting to defend the racist remarks of Wolfeboro, N.H., Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, demonstrates a breathtaking ignorance about free speech and the pernicious effects of racism. His assertion that the First Amendment should protect the comments made by a public official presumably sworn to uphold the law is beyond ridiculous. To compound the error of his indefensible position, Mr. Chapman dares to compare those who reported Commissioner Copeland’s vile comments about President Obama to those who spied for the Nazis.

By referring to our first African American president the way he did, Commissioner Copeland violated the public trust and forfeited any right he had to hold any public office. There is no doubt in my mind that the remarks of Mr. Copeland reflect his views toward all people of color; and as an African American male, I wonder just how many people of color he targeted, or did even worse to, during his reign as a police commissioner. Mr. Chapman’s attempt to defend Commissioner Copeland’s hateful publicly stated racist views is simply outrageous.

Mark Latham

Hartford