Timothy Allen, 44, of Benton Harbor; last seen in police custody before his body was found in Lake Michigan near St. Joseph


(Case reminiscent of death of 16-year-old Eric McGinnis in St. Joseph River in 1994.)

By Mary Neal

November 22, 2011

 Timothy “Bulldog” Allen’s body was recovered from the lake near Napier Avenue bridge in St. Joseph, Michigan where police spoke with him last on November 9, 2011.

Rev. Edward Pinkney, director of Benton Harbor NAACP, relayed the sad news that Allen’s remains surfaced on December 29, 2011. Allen went missing after his family called an ambulance for him because he seemed to need emergency medical services. They never saw him again. 

Rev. Edward Pinkney speaks at Detroit rally against PA 4 Jan 2. 2012

Numerous African Americans go missing in police custody or immediately after, especially persons experiencing mental or emotional trauma. Rev. Pinkney suspects foul play. When I spoke with him on December 30, Rev. Pinkney said Allen’s family had not been allowed to view the body at that time. Police refused to drag the lake for Allen’s body although that should have been done when he initially went “missing.”

We understand that Allen was no John Kennedy, III, for whom the Army searched when his plan went down. However, lakes are dragged for many average citizens, but not for Timothy Allen. Decomposition, especially in water, is useful if there is something to hide. I resent it. Please pray for Allen’s family. They loved him, and his friends loved him and will miss his love. People matter. 

 The Allen family called for emergency assistance on November 9, because Bulldog was acting delusional and irrational. He reportedly refused treatment when his ambulance reached Lakewood Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, and he left on foot. The Allen family reported on the Rev. Pinkney Blogtalk Radio show that the 44-year-old had been suffering from seizures in recent months.

Stephen Marschke: did he kill 16-year-old Eric McGinnis? Facebook photo

VOD: Police murders and brutality apparently continue unabated in Benton Harbor despite the 2003 rebellion against the death of Terrance Shurn. The story of Timothy “Bulldog” Allen brings to mind the story of 16-year-old Eric McGinnis, whose body was found floating in the St. Joseph River in 1994 after he and several friends had crossed over to St. Joseph from Benton Harbor for a night out. “The Other Side of the River” by Alex Kotlowitz, tells the story of the child’s death and the racial divide between Benton Harbor and St. Joseph.

Stephen Marschke, then Berrien County sheriff, was the last person to see the child alive. He kept the police file on his death secret for over a year. After he lost the race for sheriff afterwards, then Governor John Engler appointed him to head the state Parole Board.  Michigan’s prison population skyrocketed as Marschke declared, “Life means life,” and kept parolable lifers behind bars despite the original intent of their judges to allow them parole after 10-15 years if they demonstrated evidence of rehabilitation. 

Related article by Diane Bukowski at

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