Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.
The author of this post is James Barrett.
An incident involving a man who wore a KKK hood to a San Diego-area Vons grocery store that drew national attention will result in no charges, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced this week, citing a Supreme Court ruling as grounds for taking no additional action.
The incident took place at a Vons on Mission Gorge Road in Santee, a San Diego-area suburb, on May 2 — a day after San Diego County mandated face coverings in public. Customers noticed a middle-aged, camouflage shirt-wearing shopper pushing a cart around, his head covered in a KKK hood.
Vons corporate spokesperson Melissa Hill says that the man was repeatedly asked by employees to remove the hood. When he finally arrived at the check-out line, a supervisor again insisted that he remove it, at which point the man finally conceded and took off the inflammatory garment. He then purchased his items and left the store without incident.
"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,"
Having drawn national attention, and rebuke
from the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego as well as local officials, authorities looked closely into the matter, reviewing surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, and conferring with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, but ultimately determined that no charges would be brought.
In a statement
issued Monday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced that there was not enough evidence to bring any charges against the man.
"The man expressed frustration with the coronavirus and having people tell him what he can and cannot do,"
the statement reads (full statement below). "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.'"
"After the interrogation, detectives conferred with both the U.S. Attorney's Office and the San Diego County District Attorney's Office,"
the department explains. "Witnesses to the incident were interviewed and video evidence was scrutinized. 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 department then cites the U.S. Supreme Court precedent on "hate speech," asserting, "[s]peech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.'"
"That said, this 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 announcement concludes. "Santee is a city of families and the community is rightfully disgusted at this man's despicable behavior. The Sheriff's Department thoroughly investigates incidents such as these and will hold those who violate the law accountable."