The U.S. city of San Diego, California, used to have a disturbing Ku Klux Klan history that earned it a nickname of “Klantee” (from “Santee”). It looks like it still lives up to it.
On May 3rd social media exploded with pictures taken the day before at a Vons supermarket. The photos showed a man wearing a pointed white hood — the world-known symbol of the infamous Ku Klux Klan movement — casually shopping for groceries.
People in the store were absolutely shocked and provided the Internet with pictures of the man from different angles. The Times of San Diego quotes one of the photographers, Melissa S.:
“I was in disbelief. 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.”
Nico Pitney, a political director for Now This, tweeted the photos and added:
“A KKK hood is worn openly at a Vons in Santee, CA, near San Diego. The area’s been a hub of white supremacist and skinhead activity for many years, earning the nickname Klantee.” (sic)
The representatives of Vons claimed that several employees tried to ask the man to remove the hood but he refused.
“Unfortunately, an alarming and isolated incident occurred at our Vons store in Santee, where a customer chose an inflammatory method of wearing a face covering. Needless to say, it was shocking,” reads the official statement from Vons.
“Several members of our team asked the customer to remove it, and all requests were ignored until the customer was in 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.”
Some photos indeed do show the man without the KKK hood, hunched over his shopping cart. He appears to be white, middle-aged, with a long greyish ponytail.
Mayor of San Diego John Minto said that the local sheriff’s department is investigating the incident and called the man’s KKK hood “a symbol of hatred.”
“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,” he added.