AUBURN, Maine (AP) — A city councilor apologized Friday for racist remarks he made during a discussion of naming a footbridge former Mayor John Jenkins.

In a statement, Leroy Walker reiterated that the late Jenkins, who was Black, was “a good friend of mine for 40 years” and that he “meant no disrespect to him or his family.”

He said his comments during Tuesday’s City Council meeting “were insensitive and inappropriate,” the Sun Journal reported.

Walker said he “will use the days and weeks ahead to speak with and seek guidance from experts in diversity and communication in order to communicate for and to my constituents more effectively.”

“I will use this time to reflect and learn from this experience,” Walker said.

Jenkins, who died last year, was the first Black person to serve as a state senator in Maine. He also served as mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn.

Both the Auburn and Lewiston city councils denounced his comments before the councilor offered his apology. The Council on American-Islamic relations called for his resignation.

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