Tennessee sheriff apologizes for using racial slur, refuses to step down

RIPLEY, Tenn. — A Tennessee sheriff apologized for a racial slur caught on a recording but said he will not step down from office.

“I do want to apologize to all the citizens in Lauderdale county, especially the Afro-Americans,” said Steve Sanders, Lauderdale County sheriff.

Sanders apologized to WHBQ and other news crews.

He even typed out a statement, but he didn’t step outside to talk to protesters.

Protesters outside the sheriff’s office were outraged about the recording where he used a racial slur.

In the audio, a deputy employee said, “You say they killed some... they killed him outside?”

Sheriff Sanders responded, “They shot him, right there on his farm. Two little [expletive] lived around the bend, come across the field, come up there and shot him.”

“This is something that is out of my character. Why, I cannot answer,” Sanders said.

Sanders said the recording was from over a year ago.

He added that, despite the backlash, he is not stepping down from office.

“I’m going to assure them that it’s never going to happen again, and I’m here to work for them like I have in the past,” Sanders said. “I have a good relationship with the black community.”

Protesters believed the worst part was that he didn’t step outside to speak with them.

“'I have always treated the people of the county fairly and impartially, and I will continue to do so,'” said Jamie Taylor, protester. “Steve Sanders, this is his apology. This is his apology.”

The group refused to back down until Sanders resigns.

“We will not let it blow over,” Driver said. “We will fight until the end. We will not take this. We don’t accept this.”

Protesters had a loud and clear message to Sanders: resign now because he won't change their minds.

“One thing about Steve Sanders, he is always caught off guard,” Taylor said. “He is always letting something slip.”

Protesters plan to go to Sanders’s house for another demonstration Saturday.