A man who wore a small Nazi flag attached to his face mask while shopping last week is under investigation by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
“Detectives have been looking into the matter,” Lt. Ricardo Lopez, a sheriff’s spokesman, said Wednesday in response to an inquiry.
Lopez wouldn’t identify the target, saying via email: “We consider the identification of that subject to be a part of the investigative file and therefore will not be releasing his name.”
Dustin L. Hart, 32, has confirmed that he and his wife wore swastikas Velcro’d to their masks while picking up groceries Thursday at the Food 4 Less in Santee. In a brief email exchange Wednesday, he wouldn’t say whether he’s been contacted by the Sheriff’s Department.
Hart on Friday uploaded a 14-minute video to BitChute that showed 7 minutes of a confrontation with two sheriff’s deputies during what he called a peaceful protest.
Hart said in the video: “We have a Nazi for a governor. Now you guys are here, literally proving my point.”
The Harts eventually removed their masks, which Hart called his First Amendment right as he protested stay-at-home orders that cost him his job.
In a phone interview Friday, Hart said he had been a costume fabricator for a small company that makes custom costumes for people at Comic-Con and similar events.
He also said he had an engineering background — which social media noted with the discovery that he had worked at Qualcomm.
On Monday, Qualcomm confirmed Hart’s former employment, saying in a tweet: “FYI, Dustin Hart has not worked for Qualcomm for five years. Qualcomm’s policies support a respectful and inclusive workplace. We do not agree with or condone anyone wearing or supporting symbols of hate and would not tolerate such behavior from any of our employees.”
FYI, Dustin Hart has not worked for Qualcomm for five years. Qualcomm’s policies support a respectful and inclusive workplace. We do not agree with or condone anyone wearing or supporting symbols of hate and would not tolerate such behavior from any of our employees.
— Qualcomm (@Qualcomm) May 11, 2020
An earlier sheriff’s investigation — into a man who wore a KKK-style hood while shopping at the Santee Vons — led to no charges. That man hasn’t been publicly identified.
Hart responded to email queries on the new investigation:
Times of San Diego: Have you been contacted by the Sheriff’s Department on this matter?
Dustin Hart: You lied about me in your last article.
Have you hired an attorney to defend you? If so, who?
I denied being part of any white nationalist groups and you published I was and proud.
Do you expect this case to end like the Klan-hood man’s case — with no charges brought?
There was no crime committed other than slander by “journalists” like you.
Any other comments on the fact you are under investigation?
Go f— yourself.