Memphis police have arrested a white security guard who shot and killed a Black man after the two got into an argument about the volume of the man's car stereo on Saturday. Surveillance video obtained by the Commercial Appeal showed Gregory Livingston pulling a gun out on Alvin Motley and shooting him at a Kroger gas station as Motley was holding a beer can and cigarette, the newspaper reported. Livingston was arrested the next day on a charge of second-degree murder. Pia Foster, Motley's girlfriend, told police Motley and Livingston got into a verbal dispute and when she and Motley went to leave, Motley walked toward Livingston.
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Motley’s family, said during a news conference on Tuesday that Motley was killed “because of the color of his skin.” “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.” Crump said at the press conference.
He also underscored his message in a statement. "There is no reason that a Black man trying to gas up his car should lose his life because his music was louder than what a security guard prefers," Crump said "There is no question in my mind that this crime was racially motivated and a white person playing loud music in similar circumstances would be alive.”
In a statement obtained by the Commercial Appeal, Kroger said that Livingston was employed through a third-party vendor, and he was not an employee of Kroger. “We are deeply saddened, extremely angry and horrified by this senseless violence,” the company said in the statement. “Our hearts are with the Motley family. 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. We want to thank the Memphis Police Department for their swift action. The only outcome we seek is justice.”
Motley's death is one of at least three in which a Black person was killed because of his music. Aidan Ellison, a 19-year-old Oregon hotel guest, was shot and killed on Nov. 23, 2020, just three days before Thanksgiving when a white man deemed his music too loud. Ellison was killed on the eight-year anniversary of 17-year-old Jordan Davis' death. The son of Rep. Lucy McBath, of Georgia, Jordan was at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, when a white man later convicted of murder shot the teen because his music was perceived as too loud. “Every year, I write a letter to my son. Read below - and remember there are still thousands of families in this country being torn apart every single day from gun violence,” McBath tweeted last November.
”To Jordan: I miss you. It’s been eight years since I got to hug and kiss you. I had no way to know that the last time I hugged you would be the last time I embraced you in this life.
You didn’t deserve to die that way, but our laws failed you, failed us and countless families like ours. I know the man who killed you was not raised the way I raised you.But I decided not to be silent — to challenge the laws that failed us.
I know you’re looking down on me, & I pray I’m making you proud - taking on the work that I know you were meant to do, Jordan. Can you believe I’m about to start my second term in Congress? This wasn’t in the cards or on any life plan that we had.
I know that you were not taken from us in vain eight years ago today. It cannot be that way.Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, but I take comfort knowing that one day I’ll get to hug you again and hear your voice and your laugh when I join you.
But until God decides that day has come, my promise to you is that I will continue to fight for you and your legacy. To make this world a safer place for families like ours.Thank you for watching over me as my guardian, Jordan. I love you so much.
Forever, your mom, Lucy”
Motley, who lived in Chicago, was visiting family in Memphis when he stopped at the Kroger gas station for gas, his relatives told WREG News Channel 3. He was a former Horn Lake police officer in Mississippi and had completed training to be a security guard two weeks before his death, the news station reported.
“My God says to forgive,” Motley’s father, Alvin Motley Sr., said. “I forgive the man, but I want him punished to the full extent.” Livingston is being held on a $1.8 million bond at the Shelby County Jail, WREG reported.
RELATED: White man deems music too loud and kills Lucy McBath's son. Then, same thing happens 8 years later