San Diego Man Wears KKK Hood to Supermarket After County Orders Public to Wear Face Masks

Officials have condemned a man in California who was pictured wearing a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood while shopping at a supermarket.

Pictures of the man wearing a white hood similar to one worn by the hate group at a Vons store in Santee, San Diego emerged on social media over the weekend.

The incident occurred one day after San Diego imposed a new health order requiring everyone to cover their faces in public if they come within six feet of another person or whenever they enter a place of business from May 1 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"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.," Tammy Gillies, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego, tweeted while sharing pictures of the man in the hood. "@ADL_SD⁩ would be happy to educate your team. San Diego is #NoPlaceForHate."

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob added: "The images I've seen are abhorrent. This blatant racism has no place in Santee or any part of San Diego County. It is not who we are. It is not what we stand for and can't be tolerated."

The man reportedly refused to take off his hood after being confronted by others at the store until he went to go pay for his items at the checkout.

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A KKK hood 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.

— Nico Pitney (@nicopitney) May 3, 2020

This man in my hometown of Santee, CA decided that a KKK hood would protect him from COVID-19. This is absolutely disgusting and makes me shamed to be from this town 🤬🖕🏼

— tyler 🤍 (@tylermooore) May 3, 2020

In a statement condemning the incident, Santee Mayor John Minto said. "The citizens and Vons employees took steps to address the situation. 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."

Melissa Hill, spokeswoman for Albertsons Companies, which owns the supermarket chain, told Patch: "At Vons, fostering an environment of courtesy, dignity, and respect is one of our highest priorities, and we work hard to hold everyone in our stores to these standards, including customers."

"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. Several members of our team asked the customer to remove it, and all requests were ignored until the customer was in the checkout area."

San Diego Police have been contacted for comment.

The city of Santee has a known history of white supremacist activity and racially motivated attacks, earning it the nickname "Klantee."

Perhaps the most well known incident occurred in 1998 where five white men broke a black Marine's neck and left him paralyzed after attacking him at a party while allegedly shouting "white power."

File photo: Demonstration of the Ku Klux Klan. A man has been pictured wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood while grocery shopping in Santee, San Diego. F. Carter Smith/Sygma/Getty

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.