Saginaw Township Man Charged with Federal Hate Crimes

A retired Saginaw Township optometrist is charged with hate crimes for leaving nooses around Saginaw County and directing others to use racial slurs against black people.

61-year-old Kenneth Pilon is charged with interfering with federally protected activities, including willfully intimidating or attempting to intimidate others for protesting in support of Black Lives Matter. Authorities found five nooses at various locations around the county in the summer of 2020 when Black Lives Matter protests were occurring across the country. A number of the nooses had a note reading “An accessory to be worn with your ‘BLM’ T-shirt. Happy protesting!”

Pilon is also accused of making phone calls to nine different Starbucks stores around the state, telling employees to use the N-word to workers wearing Black Lives Matter tee shirts.

The case is being held in federal court. The charges are misdemeanors with possible prison time of up to one year. The FBI continues to investigate the matter.