The retired doctor reportedly called nine Starbucks stores in 2020 and told the employee who answered the call to pass on this message to any Starbucks workers wearing BLM T-shirts: “The only good ‘N-word’ is a dead ‘N-word’. Just 1 month after making those calls, the retired optometrist reportedly left nooses in parking lots, with a handwritten note: “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!'” The NAACP chapter president reportedly said: “This is a professional person, an optometrist who no doubt treated people of very diverse backgrounds and color, those mindsets exist across the spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds.”
The 61-year-old retired doctor from Michigan, Kenneth Pilon, is now charged with a federal hate crime for allegedly intimidating Black Lives Matter supporters, the Department of Justice said. Court records say that the retired optometrist reportedly called nine Starbucks stores across Michigan in 2020 and told the worker who answered the phone to pass on a message to any employees wearing BLM T-shirt: “The only good ‘N-word’ is a dead ‘N-word’.
Prosecutors said that one month after making the calls, the retired doctor reportedly left nooses in Kroger and Walmart parking lots, including one he tucked inside a beverage cooler with a handwritten note: “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!'”
Between June 22, 2020, and July 17, 2020, prosecutors said that the retired optometrist reportedly left five nooses with handwritten notes reading: “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!”
According to DFP, 44-year-old Donald Simon was the Black man who found one of the nooses. The man reportedly told DFP that the truck had been parked overnight in the driveway, with the window slightly open.
Donald Simon reportedly told WSAZ:
“I opened my door, and when I looked at it, then I looked at it again, I was amazed. I was in shock. I thought, ‘Is this really what I think it is?’”
After discovering the noose, his wife Regina posted what happened on Facebook, along with a photo of what was found in the truck.
Carolyn Normandin, Regional Director of Michigan’s Anti-Defamation League, reportedly told ABS:
“This case is a horrifying example of hatred, and it really exemplifies why it’s important for people to stand up against individuals who personify hate and what I mean by that is going out and doing action that targets a group of individuals or a person.”
According to ABS, Terry Pruitt, NAACP chapter president, reportedly said:
“This is a professional person, an optometrist who no doubt treated people of very diverse backgrounds and color, those mindsets exist across the spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds.”
According to the court documents, the 61-year-old retired doctors was charged with willfully intimidating and attempting to intimidate citizens from engaging in lawful speech and protests in support of Black Lives Matter.