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Black man gunned down by white security guard over loud music dispute in Memphis

Chicago resident Alvin Motley Jr. was visiting family when the deadly confrontation unfolded.
Syndication: The Commercial Appeal
Tasheta Motley cries as she is held by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump during a press conference in Memphis on August 10, 2021.Joe Rondone / The Commercial Appeal via Imagn

A Black man was gunned down by a white security guard in Memphis, after the victim was exercising his basic right "to pump gas and play his music," his family said.

Alvin Motley Jr., 48, was filling up Saturday at a Kroger Fuel Center at 6660 Poplar Ave., when he got into a dispute with a security guard, Memphis police said.

The disagreement was over loud music being played by the victim, his family said, and ended with security guard Gregory Livingston, 54, allegedly shooting Motley in the chest.

Motley was pronounced dead at the scene and Livingston was booked into custody, on suspicion of second-degree murder, Memphis police said.

Livingston was still in custody on Friday, held in lieu of $1.8 million bail, Shelby County Jail records showed. His next court date is set for Monday.

Motley was a 48-year-old Chicago resident visiting family in Tennessee when he was shot, his family said.

"Alvin Motley has a right to exist, to pump gas and play his music because this is America and nobody has the right to kill a young Black man for playing music," family attorney Ben Crump said. "I don't care how loud you think it is. You do not have a right to kill a young Black man for playing music."

Under ordinary circumstances, the case would be tried by Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, but she announced Thursday that her office has a potential conflict of interest and will send the matter to a special prosecutor.

An investigator with the office moonlights for Allied Universal Security, the company hired by Kroger to provide guards for the store - and that DA employee could end up being a witness in this case, according to Weirich.

"Today I learned an investigator in this office had an off-duty job with Allied Security and might be a witness in the prosecution of Gregory Livingston. The investigator has been put on leave without pay for failing to notify me of this immediately," according to a statement released by Weirich.

"I do not want anything to cast a shadow over the pursuit of justice so I am recusing our office. I have spoken to Mr. Crump, the family’s attorney, and have asked the District Attorney’s conference to appoint a special prosecutor.”

Allied Universal Security said the guard involved in Saturday's shooting was hired through a third-party contractor.

"Everyone at Allied Universal extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Alvin Motley, who was tragically killed in Memphis over the weekend. His loss is devastating," according to a company statement.

"We are conducting a thorough investigation of this incident, including a review of the third-party contractor who hired the officer involved in this incident. Effective immediately, we have terminated all business with this third-party contractor."

The company said it's cooperating with Memphis authorities and "will provide our full support to the prosecution of this matter to ensure that justice is served."

A Kroger representative also passed off blame for the tragedy to a third-party contractor.

“We are deeply saddened, extremely angry and horrified by this senseless violence. Our hearts are with the Motley family," the company said in a statement. "This tragic incident involved a third-party contractor onsite to provide security services at our Poplar Avenue Fuel Center. We ask all third-party contractors to respect and honor our core values which include respect, diversity, and inclusion."

Jail records did not show if Livingston has yet hired an attorney or been appointed one by the court.