Man who wore KKK-style hood in San Diego County supermarket won't face charges

SANTEE, Calif. (KABC) -- Authorities announced Monday that the man who donned a Ku Klux Klan-style hood at a San Diego County supermarket will not be charged with a crime.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department said they have no grounds on which to seek criminal charges against the shopper who said he donned the hood out of "frustration" over having to wear a facial covering in public during the coronavirus crisis.

The man claimed the hood was not intended to be a racial statement, the department said.

The man, whose name has not been publicly released, concealed his head with the pointed white hood during a May 2 visit to a Vons store in the 9600 block of Mission Gorge Road.

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An investigation was underway on Monday into whether the appearance of a customer wearing a Ku Klux Klan-style hood at an eastern San Diego County supermarket amounted to a criminal act.

Other patrons took photos of the masked man and posted them online, drawing outrage from local leaders and civil rights organizations that condemned the display of a key symbol of a racist hate group.

After interviewing witnesses and reviewing video evidence, investigators determined that there wasn't enough evidence to charge the man with any crime, according to the department.

"That said, this incident should serve as a reminder for anyone contemplating wearing or displaying items so closely associated with hate and human suffering that our society does not hold in high regard those who do so,'' the agency stated. "Santee is a city of families, and the community is rightfully disgusted at this man's despicable behavior.''

City News Service contributed to this report.
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