DETROIT (AP) — A judge sentenced a Michigan man to 10 months in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to two hate crime charges for intimidating and attempting to intimidate people protesting in support of Black Lives Matter.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Ludington also sentenced Kenneth Pilon, 62, of Saginaw to one-year of supervised release.
Pilon was accused of calling nine Starbucks stores in Michigan and telling the employees answering his calls to relay racial threats to Starbucks employees wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts. Pilon also threatened to kill Black people, prosecutors said.
Pilon also pleaded guilty to placing a noose inside a vehicle with an attached note reading: “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ t-shirt. Happy protesting!”
Pilon allegedly left the messages two days after Starbucks announced in 2020 that it would provide 250,000 Black Lives Matter T-shirts to employees who wanted to wear them during their shifts amid protests condemning the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
“The nooses … and the calls to Starbucks were all intended to terrorize the targeted victims solely because of their race,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “