Story at a glance

  • The incident took place just one day after San Diego imposed orders requiring masks inside businesses due to COVID-19.
  • The man removed the hood when a supervisor asked him to do so.
  • The incident prompted condemnation from the mayor, the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego and other officials.

Officials in San Diego County are condemning a man who was pictured wearing a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) hood while shopping at a supermarket, one day after the city implemented a new coronavirus health order requiring everyone to cover their faces when entering a business, according to the Los Angeles Times

Pictures of the man wearing the white hood while shopping inside a Vons store in the San Diego County city of Santee began circulating on social media over the weekend. At least one photo also shows the man, who appears to be white and middle-aged, standing behind a cart without a hood.


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A corporate spokeswoman for the grocery store told the Los Angeles Times that employees repeatedly asked the shopper to remove the hood or leave the store. 

When a supervisor asked the man once he was in a checkout line to take off the hood or leave, the man removed the hood, purchased his items and left the store. 

“This was a disturbing incident for our associates and customers, and we are reviewing with our team how to best handle such inappropriate situations in the future,” Melissa Hill, a spokeswoman for Vons, told the LA Times. 

The incident has prompted outrage from the mayor, the head of the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego and others. 

“There was an incident in Santee on Saturday where citizens photographed a male wearing attire that depicted a symbol of hatred,” Santee Mayor John Minto said in a statement.

“The citizens and Vons employees took steps to address the situation. Many thanks to all who stepped forward to curtail this sad reminder of intolerance. Santee, its leaders, and I will not tolerate such behavior,” Minto said. 


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County Supervisor Dianne Jacobs, who represents Santee and other East County communities, condemned the man’s actions. 

“The images I’ve seen are abhorrent,” she said in a statement. “This blatant racism has no place in Santee or any part of San Diego County. It is not who we are. It is not what we stand for and can’t be tolerated.”

Tammy Gillies, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in the San Diego area, tweeted a photo of the man saying “San Diego is #NoPlaceForHate.”

Santee has a known history of white supremacism and racially motivated attacks, earning it the nicknames “Klantee,” and “Santucky,” according to the LA Times. 

San Diego kicked off orders May 1 requiring everyone to cover their faces in public if they come within 6 feet of another person, or when they enter a business to stop the spread of COVID-19.


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Published on May 04, 2020