NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — The longtime mayor of Clark Township in Union County was doing damage control following the release of recordings that caught him repeatedly using racial slurs to describe Black people.

Sal Bonaccorso said he apologizes for the “hurtful and insensitive language.” He added he’s learned and changed his behavior, promising never to use that language again.

“It was wrong,” he said in a YouTube video. “I’m embarrassed and ashamed to have spoken that way about a race of people.”

Initially, he outright denied making the remarks before the release of the recordings. It’s not the first time Bonaccorso was recorded publicly making offensive remarks about Black people.

Two years ago, he addressed a crowd filled with Black people during a George Floyd demonstration. During that demonstration, he said he’s “for all the ‘good’ Black people.”

“People can misspeak and apologize,” Rev. Al Sharpton said, “but they cannot hide who they are.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also weighed in, saying he’s “deeply disturbed” by the allegations. He called on Bonaccorso to resign immediately.

“His hateful language has no place in society and his behavior has irreparably damaged his ability to lead Clark Township,” Murphy added.

The president of Clark’s local police union also condemned the recorded racist remarks made by Police Chief Pedro Matos, and the department’s internal affairs supervisor, in their conversations with Bonaccorso.

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the state Attorney General’s Office are currently overseeing and investigating the Clark Police Department.

A spokesperson for the state Attorney General’s Office told PIX11 the office wants to “ensure that the policing in our communities is fair and impartial.”

PIX11 News reached out to the mayor’s office, but did not receive a response.