By Sara Powers

Exactly 31 years after the murder of a 16-year-old Black teen in St. Joseph, Michigan, the Benton Harbor Mayor is asking the attorney general to hold someone accountable for Eric McGinnis’ death.

The main suspect identified in McGinnis’ death committed suicide in 2003, and his name was Curtis Pitts.

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He, and another suspect, are both dead so the Attorney General’s office recommended closing McGinnis’ case with no charges filed.

But Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad is saying it’s a miscarriage of justice if no one is held accountable.

Mayor Muhammad is calling it a hate crime, mentioning that the night it happened, McGinnis was chased outside the St. Joe Club by a group of white men, after an alleged argument with Pitts’ girlfriend, who was also McGinnis’ former girlfriend.

In addition to this, witnesses had heard Pitts saying racial slurs and intimidating people at the crime scene.

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McGinnis was found dead five days later in the St Joseph River, and his death was declared an accidental drowning with no foul play suspected.

Mayor Muhammad compared McGinnis’ case to that of  Ahmaud Arbery out of Georgia, where he says the prosecutorial powers “fumbled”.

Specifically, Mayor Muhammad is referring to the prosecutor at the time of the crime and now judge, Dennis Wiley.

“And we have again in the Eric McGinnis case where justice was fumbled,” said Muhammad. “And at what point are prosecutors going to be held accountable for misconduct?”

Mayor Muhammad visited the pier where McGinnis died and his gravesite.

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