“The Sheriff’s Department is investigating,” Santee Mayor John Minto confirmed. “I hope they will have more information for us tomorrow.”
Local officials immediately spoke out against the display, which East County Supervisor Dianne Jacob called “abhorrent.”
“This blatant racism has no place in Santee or any part of San Diego County,” she said in a statement Sunday. “It is not who we are. It is not what we stand for and can’t be tolerated.”
The City Council and the City Of Santee also issued statements slamming the incident.
Vons released a statement as the outcry grew, saying that several employees asked the still-unidentified man to remove the covering. Those requests went unheeded, the grocery chain said, until the man reached the checkout area.
“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,” the supermarket chain added in a statement.
As the San Diego Tribune notes, Santee has a history rooted in racially motivated attacks and other racist activities, which resulted in nicknames such as “Klantee” and “Santucky.”