The man wore the hood while shopping at a Vons grocery store in Santee. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department said the man wouldn't be charged for wearing the hood.
"The man expressed frustration with the coronavirus and having people tell him what he can and cannot do. He said that wearing the hood was not intended to be a racial statement. In summary, he said 'It was a mask and it was stupid,'" the statement said.
An investigation by the US Attorney's Office and San Diego County District Attorney's Office determined there wasn't enough evidence to charge the man with a crime.
"An analysis of all relevant criminal statutes was undertaken. As a result, it was determined there was insufficient evidence to charge the man who wore the Ku Klux Klan hood inside the store," the press statement said.
The sheriff's office warned that while his speech was protected from the law, it doesn't mean he's going to be treated well by the public.
"The 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 sheriff's department said. "Santee is a city of families, and the community is rightfully disgusted at this man's despicable behaviour. The Sheriff's Department thoroughly investigates incidents such as these and will hold those who violate the law accountable."
Less than a week later, another man wearing a racially insensitive mask entered another Santee grocery store.
A man wearing a Swastika mask at a Food 4 Less in Santee was asked by sheriff's deputies to remove it after other shoppers complained.
The sheriff's department said the matter was still being investigated.
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