SABATTUS — David Marsters apologized Thursday for posting a racial slur and threat against President Barack Obama on Facebook and resigned from all of his municipal board appointments.
An emergency meeting of the Board of Selectmen to consider dismissing him from three town boards was canceled.
Marsters submitted his resignation by email to Town Manager Andrew Gilmore. “Effective immediately I am resigning from all committees and commissions,” Marsters wrote. He had served on the Ordinance Review Committee, the Budget Committee and the Charter Commission.
“I deeply regret what I posted and do apologize for my actions,” he wrote.
Marsters, a retired police officer, became the target of heavy criticism this week after the Sun Journal reported Tuesday on a week-old Facebook post in which Marsters wrote, “Shoot the N*****” atop a photo of the president.
When someone criticized the posting, the user said Obama "is not a legal president."
Gilmore said the comments were "deplorably hateful, dangerous and exactly opposite of all this country and the town of Sabattus stands for."
Within hours of Marsters' post becoming public Tuesday, the Secret Service interviewed him at the town police station and later interviewed his wife and neighbors. Police also searched Marsters’ home for guns.
Marsters has not been charged with a crime.
The selectmen had scheduled an emergency meeting for Thursday night to consider removing Marsters from service on town commissions and committees on which he serves. According to a Sabattus official, that meeting has since been canceled.
On Wednesday, Gilmore said Board of Selectmen Chairman Mark Duquette called the emergency board meeting because he believed timing was of the essence "to make it very clear that the town government and this community as a whole are in no way aligned with Mr. Marsters, and what we perceive to be his extreme, radical views.”
According to Gilmore, town officials “encourage everybody’s right to have ideological views anywhere on the spectrum,” but Marsters' offensive call to harm the president “clearly steps way over the line."
In a written statement Thursday, Gilmore said he accepted Marsters' resignation on behalf of the town, effective immediately, terminating any official standing Marsters has with Sabattus government.
"I personally want to thank Mr. Marsters for sparing the town and community further spectacle by resigning voluntarily," Gilmore said, and allowing town government to return to work "without unnecessary distraction."
Gilmore said his "sincere hope is that while we all need to move forward from this experience, none of us should forget or lose sight of the fact that words are never 'just words.' They have meaning, they have impact, and they have consequences."
Earlier this year, Marsters, who said he owns one handgun, wanted the town to require, by ordinance, every household to own a gun and ammunition. Selectmen refused to consider such an ordinance, and Marsters has since taken out papers to run for selectman this fall.
Interviewed at his home Tuesday night, Marsters said his Facebook post was taken out of context. He insisted no threat was made because he didn't say he or anyone else was actually going to do it.
"I'm pissed off at the system, OK," he said, noting that he was worried his family might lose health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. He blames Obama, whom he says was elected to office thanks to the use of a false birth certificate and other identifying documents.
"I apologize for what I said; that's all I can say," Marsters told the Sun Journal. "I did it out of frustration against the man."