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Black Man Shot and Killed by White Security Guard for Playing Music Too Loudly While Pumping Gas

In a senseless act of violence and tragic loss of life, Alvin Motley Jr., 48, was shot and killed while fueling up his car — because a white security guard thought he was playing his music too loudly.

David K. Li of NBC News has reported that Motley, who lived in Chicago but was visiting his family in Memphis, Tennessee, had stopped at a local Kroger Fuel Center to fill up his car. Motley was playing music from the vehicle while he pumped gas. That’s when Gregory Livingston, the security guard at the gas station, approached to tell Motley to turn the music down. The two men reportedly got into a dispute, and Livingston allegedly responded by shooting Motley in the chest.

“Motley was pronounced dead at the scene, and Livingston was booked into custody on suspicion of second-degree murder,” Li reported. “Livingston was still in custody on Friday, August 13, held in lieu of $1.8-million bail, Shelby County Jail records showed. His next court date is set for Monday, August 16.”

In a statement, the family’s attorney Ben Crump, who has also worked on cases of police violence involving Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, 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. 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.”

Normally this type of case would be handled by Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, but Li reported that there could be a potential conflict of interest; an investigator with the office does some work with Allied Universal Security that is the company that employed Livingston, so the case will instead go to a special prosecutor.

“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,” Weirich said in a statement. “The investigator has been put on leave without pay for failing to notify me of this immediately. 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.”

In their own statement, Allied Universal Security said, “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. 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.”

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