A Saginaw man is facing numerous charges after allegedly leaving nooses at businesses across the state and harassing Starbucks employees in Flint and other cities with racial slurs.

Kenneth Pilon is a retired optometrist from Saginaw. He's accused of "willfully intimidating and attempting to intimidate citizens from engaging in lawful speech and protests."

Numerous Phone Messages Left for Starbucks Employees

The Department of Justice reports that in June of 2020, Pilon called Starbucks stores in Flint, Saginaw, Birch Run, Allen Park, Oak Park, and Ann Arbor, telling employees who answered the phone to relay a message to any Starbucks employees wearing BLM T-shirts: "The only good (expletive) is a dead (expletive)."

According to the Detroit Free Press, Pilon also told one Starbucks employee, "“I’m gonna go out and lynch me a (expletive)."

Pilon allegedly left the messages at nine different Starbucks over a period of just over one hour on the afternoon of June 14, 2020. The calls were made just weeks after the death of George Floyd. Starbucks had introduced an initiative to provide BLM T-shirts for employees two days before Pilon's calls.

Nooses Left at Various Businesses

Pilon is also accused of leaving nooses in Walmart and Kroger parking lots at various locations as well as inside a beverage cooler at a 7-Eleven store in Saginaw, and even inside a vehicle belonging to a Black man who resides in Saginaw.

Pilon is charged with six counts of interfering with federally protected activities, considered a misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in prison.


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