SANTEE, Calif. (KRON) – Officials are responding after photos circulating on social media over the weekend apparently show a man wearing a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood while grocery shopping at a Von’s in the San Diego suburb.
In a statement, city officials expressed outrage and said the man’s attire “depicted a symbol of hatred.”
“The citizens and Vons employees took steps to address the situation,” Santee Mayor John Minto said. “Many thanks to all who stepped forward to curtail this sad reminder of intolerance. Santee, its leaders, and I will not tolerate such behavior. Santee and its citizens are great, and this particular individual’s actions are not representative of us as a people and a wonderful city.”
On Twitter, regional director Tammy Gillies of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego posted a photo and tweeted, “Don’t know which angers me more — the person wearing this or the fact that no one in management @Vons Santee did anything about it.”
The photos were reportedly taken just before 6 p.m. Saturday at the store on Mission Gorge Road.
One person who took pictures of the sight told the Times of San Diego she took the picture because she “couldn’t believe what I was witnessing.”
“I was in disbelief,” she told the Times. “He was behind me in line. Standing quietly. A man in a wheelchair [went] past and saluted him and he laughed. I took the photo because I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. I’ve grown up in Santee and have never seen such racism right before my eyes.”
In a statement, Vons responded saying employees asked the man to remove the hood and he refused to do so until he reached the checkout line. The company called it a “disturbing incident” and said it was working with employees on how to handle any related future incidents.
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