Michigan Optometrist Charged With Delivering Nooses And Making Racist Threats

Kenneth Pilon faces years in prison if convicted.

A man allegedly delivered nooses along with racist calls and notes throughout Michigan during the summer of 2020 while racial justice protests were happening following the killing of George Floyd.

On Wednesday (April 27), the Justice Department announced that 61-year-old Kenneth Pilon had been federally charged with hate crimes for intimidating and attempting to intimidate people who signaled their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The criminal complaint filed against Pilon on Tuesday detailed six counts of “willfully intimidating and attempting to intimidate citizens from engaging in lawful speech and protests." Pilon, a retired optometrist, faces a fine and up to one year in prison for each misdemeanor charge.

RELATED: Nooses Found Hanging On Trees In Oakland Being Investigated As Hate Crime

Pilon’s alleged threats began on June 14, 2020 when he was accused of calling nine Starbucks stores across Michigan. According to the complaint, in just over an hour, he allegedly directed nine staffers who picked up the phones to "tell all the Starbucks workers wearing BLM shirts that the only good n****r is a dead n****r."

Pilon also allegedly told one of the employees that he was “gonna go out and lynch me a n****r.”

On June 22, Pilon allegedly placed a noose in the parking lot of a Goodwill store in Saginaw, Michigan. A note attached to it allegedly said, "An accessory to be worn with your 'BLM' t-shirt. Happy Protesting!" He continued to leave nooses with similar notes at a 7-Eleven, a Walmart and a Kroger store over the following month, according to the complaint.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.