A man who sparked social media outrage after being seen at Vons in Santee, California, wearing a KKK hood will not be charged with any crime.
In a press release, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said that they interrogated the man, who remains officially unidentified. The man reportedly expressed frustration with the coronavirus and “having people tell him what he can and cannot do.”
The man insisted that the hood was not meant to be a racial statement.
“It was a mask and it was stupid,” he told police, according to the sheriff’s department.
Detectives conferred with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. Witnesses were also interviewed and video evidence was also reviewed. However, according to the press release, “it was determined there was insufficient evidence to charge the man who wore the Ku Klux Klan hood inside the store.”
When the incident originally took place on May 2, it was immediately denounced, not only on social media but by local officials.
“This blatant racism has no place in Santee or any part of San Diego County,” East County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said at the time. “It is not who we are. It is not what we stand for and can’t be tolerated.”
Vons noted in a statement that several employees had asked the man to remove the hood; however, those requests went unheeded until the man reached the checkout area.
Despite the man not being charged, the sheriff’s department said that “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.”
“Santee is a city of families and the community is rightfully disgusted at this man’s despicable behavior. The sheriff’s department thoroughly investigates incidents such as these and will hold those who violate the law accountable,” the press release said.