ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Police in southwestern Michigan say they are following up on a tip in the 1991 death of a Black teenager who drowned in the St. Joseph River.

The death of Eric McGinnis raised racial tensions between Benton Harbor, which is mostly Black, and St. Joseph, which is mostly white, and was the subject of a 1998 book by Alex Kotlowitz.

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Steve Neubecker, director of the St. Joseph Public Safety Department, said the case was reopened in late April based on information received from Brian Conybeare, a reporter at ABC57 in South Bend, Indiana.

Conybeare said a man recently told him that he saw white teenagers chase Eric toward a pier along Silver Beach.

Neubecker said detectives from the Berrien County sheriff’s office, state police, and his office are working on the case.

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“We have no members of the department that were here when that occurred,” Neubecker told The Herald-Palladium.

Dozens of people gathered last week to hold a candlelight vigil on the 30th anniversary of Eric’s disappearance.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of mistrust on our side of the bridge, a lot of it related to this incident. Hopefully, with a resolution to this, it will help some of the bad feelings and some of that pain,” said Dan McGinnis, who was related to Eric and serves as Benton Harbor’s public safety chief.

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