Eye doctor pleads guilty to sending death threats to BLM activists
Kenneth Pilon left nooses in parking lots and a 7-Eleven and called in death threats to nine Starbucks locations over two months in 2020.
A Michigan eye doctor has pleaded guilty to sending death threats to Black Lives Matter activists to keep them from participating in lawful speech and protests.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Kenneth Pilon, 61, of Saginaw, left nooses in parking lots and a 7-Eleven and called in death threats to nine Starbucks locations in June and July of 2020. He pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges that he willfully intimidated BLM activists.
Pilon faced six counts of breaching a federal Title 18 rule that forbids intentionally harming, intimidating or interfering with others “by force or threat of force, because of that other person’s race, color, religion, or national origin,” theGrio previously reported.
A criminal complaint accused Pilon of calling Michigan Starbucks locations on June 14, 2020, during a spike in demonstrations against systemic racism following the death of George Floyd and ordering staff members to “tell all the employees wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts that the only good n***** is a dead n*****.”
The Free Press reported that Pilon, who is slated for sentencing on March 23, 2023, explicitly entered a plea of guilty to the first and fourth counts against him.
Count One accused him of making racial and death threats over the phone to Starbucks locations, during which he used a racial epithet in vowing to kill Black people. According to Count Four, Pilon placed a noose — and a note that read, “An accessory to be worn with your BLM t-shirt. Happy protesting!” — inside a couple’s car parked in their driveway.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division called the noose “a vile symbol of hatred and violence that harkens back to the Jim Crow era, to convey a threat of racial violence,” the Free Press reported.
“Racially-driven threats of violence simply have no place in our society today,” she added, “and the Department of Justice will continue to prosecute any individual who engages in this type of threatening conduct.”
Pilon’s racist activity occurred around the same time a California man was charged with threats related to Black Lives Matter. Steven L. Cibotti threatened a family wearing BLM shirts in June 2020. This year, he pleaded no contest, and in August he received a 60-day jail term and two years of supervised probation, theGrio previously reported.
The couple and three small children were dining at Flights in the Bay Area when Cibotti, who was also a patron, smashed his hands on their table and yelled, “F*** black lives. Blue lives matter!”
Cibotti allegedly said, “F*** you, if I had a gun, I would shoot all of you,” after Anthony Colon asked him not to address his family in that manner.
Cibotti, whose lawyer attributed the outburst to excessive alcohol consumption, pleaded no contest to committing a felony hate crime by making a felony threat. He is not allowed to use a firearm, alcohol or other controlled substances or speak to the Colon family.
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