MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of Alvin Motley and National Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump held a news conference Tuesday to address the shooting that claimed his life at a Kroger Fuel Center in East Memphis over the weekend.
“Yet again, another Black unarmed person was killed because he was profiled,” Crump said. “Because of the color of his skin. How many more times will we have to face these tragedies?”
According to the family, Motley was in Memphis to visit family and for business when the driver he was with stopped to get gas. That’s when they say Gregory Livingston, 54, approached the vehicle and asked them to turn down their music because it was too loud.
There was an argument and Motley got out of the vehicle. He asked if they could talk about the situation like men and that’s when Livingston allegedly opened fire, the family 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.” Crump said during a press conference Tuesday.
After the shooting, a cousin was called to the gas station to identify Motley’s body.
Livingston, 54, was charged with second-degree murder and booked into the Shelby County Jail on $1.8 million bond.
Family members said Motley lived in Chicago but had family connections to Memphis. They also said he was the passenger in the vehicle because he was legally blind.
“My God says to forgive,” said Alvin Motley Sr., the victim’s father. “I forgive the man, but I want him punished to the full extent.”
A Kroger spokesperson said Livingston was an employee of Allied Universal Security when he was working as a guard Saturday.
State records show Livingston recently submitted an application to be an armed security guard. According to that application he completed a training course just two weeks before Saturday’s shooting.
Livingston was also a former officer employed with the City of Horn Lake from August 1998 until he resigned April 2001, a commander at the Horn Lake Police Department said.
Crump said he and the family met with Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich to express how devastated they were and what they wanted, which is for the criminal justice system to hold those accountable who unjustly killed their loved one.
Weirich’s office released a statement saying, “Mr. Motley and his family deserve justice and we are here for them.”
Within hours of Mr. Motley being killed, our office authorized the arrest of the defendant for 2nd degree murder.
This morning I met Mr. Motley’s family and lawyer and listened as they described their son, brother, nephew. I introduced them to the prosecutors and victim witness coordinator assigned to this case and assured them they would be able to see the video soon.
Mr. Motley and his family deserve justice and we are here for them.Dist. Atty. Amy Weirich
Crump also said Kroger has a responsibility to hire and/or contract companies that don’t profile Black people. They called for the company to better train their employees and said if they don’t hear from top executives at the company, they will be calling for a boycott.
Prior to the news conference on Tuesday, Kroger also released a statement on the shooting saying, “We are deeply saddened, extremely angry and horrified by this senseless violence. 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.”
Crump’s practice has included high-profile recent civil rights cases involving Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Brionna Taylor and others.
NAACP President Van Turner and Senator Katrina Robinson were also present.