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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Tenn. — The sheriff of Lauderdale County admitted Wednesday it was his voice caught on a recent recording using the n-word in a conversation about a case.

Sheriff Steve Sanders said he doesn’t remember saying the word, but he plans to apologize for it.

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.

“I’m going to apologize Friday to all the citizens in the county, because they’re good people,” Sanders said Wednesday. “I got a lot of black friends, I got a lot of enemies, as any sheriff would, but I apologize to all of them.”

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An audio recording of Sanders using the n-word was published to Facebook. The person who published it said it was leaked to him, and he was unsure when it was recorded.

The post prompted calls for Sanders to resign from some in the county of 25,000.

“It’s heartbreaking for one, and we’re already dealing with this corona issue, and it’s like a slap in the face,” said Lauderdale County resident Tiffany Driver.

Sanders said “normal people” don’t want him to resign.

The district attorney in Lauderdale County said Sanders is the longest serving sheriff in Lauderdale County history, with 16 years in office.