Man charged with hate crimes for threatening BLM protesters with nooses

Between late June and mid-July 2020, Pilon left five nooses with handwritten notes in different areas

Stuti Mishra
Monday 02 May 2022 12:06
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<p>A person holds up a placard that reads 'Black Lives Matter' during a protest in the city of Detroit, Michigan</p>

A person holds up a placard that reads 'Black Lives Matter' during a protest in the city of Detroit, Michigan

A Michigan man is facing hate speech charges for allegedly intimidating supporters of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement by leaving handwritten notes and nooses around his community.

Kenneth Pilon, 61, has been charged with six counts of interfering with federally-protected activities after racist notes were recovered from him in connection to the incidents that took place during the nationwide BLM protests in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd.

According to the police complaint, he targetted BLM supporters and left letters and objects such as a noose to intimidate them.

Between late June and mid-July 2020, Mr Pilon left five nooses with handwritten notes in different areas such as parking lots, vehicles and in a beverage cooler, according to prosecutors.

“An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ T-shirt. Happy Protesting!” said the message.

“Specifically, Pilon intimidated and attempted to intimidate citizens 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,” the complaint said.

He also targetted Starbucks for their support and allegedly called nine stores across Michigan, telling workers that answered his calls to tell employees wearing BLM T-shirts that “the only good n****** is a dead n*****”, according to the criminal complaint filed this week.

Mr Pilon is also accused of telling one of the employees: “I’m gonna go out and lynch me a n*****.”

The case is currently being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is prosecuting the case.

Black Lives Matter, a racial justice movement, saw a surge in support with protests erupting throughout the US after Floyd, 46, was killed on 25 May 2020. Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes, leading to his death.

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