LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. (WREG) — The sheriff of Lauderdale County issued an apology on Friday after he admitted it was his voice caught on a recent recording using the n-word in a conversation about a case.
“This incident was out of character for me and it is not an indicator of who I am, how I conduct business, how I live, or how I was raised,” Steve Sanders said.
“Respectfully, I would like to offer my sincere apology to every resident of Lauderdale County, especially to the African American residents,” he added. “I have always treated the people of this county fairly and impartially and I will continue to do so.”
Sanders says he is not a racist and has never addressed anyone using the n-word, but said the word “just slipped out.” He said he did not know his officers were recording him.
Residents hosted an all-day protest Thursday outside Sanders’ house demanding he resign.
“Normal people don’t want me to resign,” Sanders said earlier in the week.
Sanders’s usage of the word “normal” upset many people WREG talked to.
“‘Normal people’ meant to me the citizens of the county,” Sanders said, “but I told you, I’m not a speaker.”
He said that he was caught off-guard by WREG’s questions earlier in the week.
Sanders also issued a written statement. WREG showed protesters the statement, but some were not satisfied by what they saw and heard.
“We directly elect all of these people so we need them to be on our side and if they’re not on our side then voters we know what we have to do,” said protester Lagenia Jones.
The sheriff says he talks about the importance of equality when hiring people at the department.
Sanders did not speak directly to protesters, but said he will probably do that next week. He still has no plans to resign.
Protesters say they’re not backing down and plan to speak to other city and county leaders about removing Sanders from office.