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Family of Black man killed by white security guard demands justice

Alvin Motley Jr. was fatally shot by a Kroger gas station security guard who complained about the volume of his music.

Kroger SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

The family of Alvin Motley Jr., a Black man who was shot and killed by a white security guard, is demanding justice. The slain 48-year-old’s relatives and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing them, held a press conference about the tragedy on Tuesday (Aug. 10).

According to an arrest affidavit, the incident occurred in Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday evening (Aug. 7) at a Kroger fuel center. Motley and his girlfriend Pia Foster were traveling to visit his niece and nephew and stopped at the gas station. Police say that the store’s security guard Gregory Livingston approached Motely and started arguing with him about the volume of the music coming from their car.

Foster, who witnessed the shooting, told authorities that Motley said to Livingston, “Let’s talk like men,” and that the man then shot her boyfriend in the chest.

At Tuesday’s press conference, Crump compared the shooting to the 2012 death of Jordan Davis, a Black 17-year-old who was shot and killed by a man at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station over an argument about the volume of his music.

“Nobody has a right to kill a young Black man for playing music,” Crump said at the conference. “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. Jordan was one too many. Alvin is by far too many.”

On Tuesday, Motley’s family also said he suffered from Marfan syndrome, which caused him to be legally blind.

“I forgive the man, but I want him punished to the fullest extent. I want him to live as long as I live so he can think about what I have to think about forever,” Alvin Motley Sr., Motley’s father, said. “I want justice for my son.”

Crump has also called on Kroger to take responsibility and “hire security companies that won’t profile Black people and respect Black customers.”

“Use your influence to make this right. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug,” he said.

In a statement, Kroger said Livingston was hired by the third-party security service Allied Universal. However, according to the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, Livingston did not have a security guard license and was therefore not legally allowed to be working as an armed guard.

Livingston admitted to shooting Motley to police and was charged with second-degree murder. He is currently being held at the Shelby County Jail on a $1.8 million bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 16.

On Tuesday, NAACP President Van Turner called on District Attorney Amy Weirich to push for a speedy trial.

“This was cold-blooded murder,” he said. “We will never forget the senseless murder that has taken place in this community.”

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