A California man sported a Nazi swastika flag on his mask while he was grocery shopping in the same town where some time earlier, a man wore a KKK hood to another food store.
Dustin Hart, who goes by the nickname Dusty Shekel on social media, posted a 14-minute clip of his encounter in a Santee Food 4 Less on the video hosting platform Bit Chute.
“We were peacefully protesting all the crazy lockdown rules that have been and are continuing to be enforced here in San Diego, California", the 32-year-old explained in his post, in a dig at governor Gavin Newsom.
Police Confront Customer In Swastika Mask In Same Town As Klan Hood Shopper — The incident in Santee, California, is the latest example of anti-lockdown protesters using white supremacist and anti-Semitic hate symbols. https://t.co/MDkNmFrUMT— Unindicted Corq Conspirator (@rogue_corq) May 9, 2020
He further lamented the worrisome unemployment rates and the deadlock spawned by “these crazy rules” in a reference to the lockdown and self-isolation measures.
Hart and a woman who was accompanying him can be seen in the video with masks on and a Nazi flag attached with the help of Velcro fastener.
The woman with Hart also wears a shirt sporting a version of the “Pepe The Frog” meme that portrays the frog as a clown - something that has been associated by some of late with anti-Semitic and racist ideas. This detail has been commented on by the Anti-Defamation League, which wrote on its website:
“The mere fact of posting a Pepe meme does not mean that someone is racist or white supremacist. However, if the meme itself is racist or anti-Semitic in nature, or if it appears in a context containing bigoted or offensive language or symbols, then it may have been used for hateful purposes".
The aforementioned video goes on to show the pair wandering around the store, as a cashier comes up to them saying they can't wear the masks inside. Hart stresses in response that his right to wear the mask is protected by the First Amendment and that “this is America, land of the free".
“I can decorate mine however I want", the man boasts. The employee even offers to give Hart another mask, to which he responds: “go for it".
As they continue to walk around the store, attracting glances, the pair are then stopped by deputies from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, engaging in a lengthy exchange with them.
“We have a Nazi for a governor", Hart fumes in the footage. “Now you guys are here, literally proving my point", Hart says after the officers try to insist that the store is “private” and “family friendly” and wearing such masks would be trespassing.
At one point, one of the deputies, identified as K Belzer, brings up a similar instance from days earlier, in which a man, whom Hart says he has never heard of as he doesn’t watch television, lounged around a store in a KKK hood before taking it off at the cashier’s desk.
When Belzer tries to explain that the Nazi flag is an “offensive symbol", Hart responds: "I see the LGBT flag and that is offensive to me and I don't call the cops".
Hart shares his disgust and annoyance before finally taking off the mask, bemoaning his lockup within four walls:
“I would just like to go back to work", Hart tells the officers complaining that “all I get to do is sit home and fester".
“I want to get out of my house and go to work and be productive", he affirms.
Although Donald Trump has voiced calls to gradually ease the ubiquitous lockdown, the majority of states continue to stick to the lockdown rules for fear of a second COVID-19 wave.