Authorities charged a Michigan man with hate crimes after he allegedly threatened supporters of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests by leaving nooses and racist handwritten notes, the Justice Department announced on April 27.
Authorities charged Kenneth Pilon, a 61-year-old retired optometrist, with six counts of federally protected activities for incidents in June and July 2020 during the peak of nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd.
According to the Justice Department, Pilon called nine Starbucks stores in and around the city of Saginaw and told those who would answer to tell the employees wearing BLM shirts that “the only good [n-word] is a dead [n-word].”
Pilon also allegedly told one employee, “I’m gonna go out and lynch me a [n-word].
The calls came just days after Starbucks announced that they would provide BLM shirts to employees who wanted to wear them during their shifts.
The affidavit also alleged that Pilon left nooses in multiple parking lots, inside a 7-Eleven store, and inside a mixed-race couple’s truck.
Pilon allegedly attached each noose with a handwritten note that said, “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!”
Authorities said Pilon wanted to intimidate people “from participating lawfully in speech and peaceful assembly opposing the denial of Black people’s right to enjoy police protection and services free from brutality.”
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