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Press Release

Michigan Man Charged with Hate Crimes for Attempting to Intimidate Protesters from Supporting Black Lives Matter

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced that Kenneth Pilon, 61, has been charged by information in federal district court with willfully intimidating and attempting to intimidate citizens from engaging in lawful speech and protests in support of Black Lives Matter.

According to the filed information, Pilon called nine Starbucks stores in Michigan and told the employees answering his calls to tell Starbucks employees wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts that “the only good n***er is a dead n***er.” Pilon told one employee, “I’m gonna go out and lynch me a n***er.” Over the course of the next month, Pilon left four nooses in parking lots and a fifth noose inside of a 7-Eleven store. Pilon attached each noose to a handwritten note, reading: “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!”

This case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Turkelson for the Eastern District of Michigan and Trial Attorney Tara Allison of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case. The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison.

The charges in the information are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. 

Updated April 27, 2022

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 22-432