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The family and lawyer of Alvin Motley Jr., a Black man who was fatally shot by a security guard at a Kroger Fuel Center, are calling for accountability from both the supermarket chain and Allied Universal Security, the third-party company that employed the suspect.
The dispute-turned-shooting, which happened at a Memphis, Tennessee gas station earlier this month, allegedly stemmed from a disagreement involving loud music, though the lawyer of the accused perpetrator denies that.
Alvin Motley Jr., age 48, was reportedly with his girlfriend on Aug. 7 when a 54-year-old white man named Gregory Livingston allegedly confronted him over loud music coming from Motley’s car. According to an affidavit, an argument ensued. Motley approached Livingston while holding a beer can and cigarette and said, “Let’s talk like men.” Prosecutors say shortly after that Livingston killed Motley by shooting him in the chest.
Livingston has been charged with second-degree murder.
On Wednesday, Motley’s family’s and their attorney Ben Crump, along with Al Sharpton, claimed Kroger and the security company that was contracted by the chain, Allied Universal, should be held responsible along with Livingston.
“Kroger, you can’t pass the buck saying that this is an issue for the Motley family or the security company. It’s an issue for your company. … You have a duty to provide safety and have qualified employees and contractors who won’t kill Black people over loud music,” said Crump.
Motley’s funeral was held on Wednesday at Freedom Baptist Church in Hillside, Illinois.
Both Crump and Sharpton attended the funeral and asserted that the shooting was racially motivated.
In a previous statement made shortly after the shooting, Crump said, “My heart breaks for the Motley family as they grieve the tragic and preventable loss of Alvin. Kroger and companies that employ security have the ultimate responsibility to train and equip their employees and contractors on de-escalation techniques, similar to the training we’ve been advocating for law enforcement officers. 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. 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.”
On Tuesday, a Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance spokesman told The Commercial Appeal that Livingston did not have a security guard license.
“Mr. Livingston was not and is not licensed as a security guard,” Kevin Walters said via email. Walters also said that Livingston applied for an armed security license but was denied over missing requirements.
Livingston again applied on August 2 and was denied again.
“His application has been denied due to violation of statute for working as an armed guard without registration card,” Walters said.
On Wednesday it was reported that Kroger had ended its contract with Allied Universal Security. It put out the following statement regarding that decision: “At Kroger, nothing is more important to us than the safety of our associates and customers. We expect all third-party contractors to live up to our values, which include respect and safety and diversity and inclusion. After an internal review of the tragic incident that involved a third-party security officer at our Poplar Avenue Fuel Center, we have made the decision to end our relationship with Allied Universal Security in Memphis. Our hearts are with the Motley family and we stand with them in their calls for justice.”
Motley, who is from Chicago, was visiting the area.
Speaking to ABC News, Livingston’s attorney Leslie Ballin denied that the motive for the shooting was based on race or loud music.
“Let it be known that we do not agree that this incident was about loud music,” said Ballin. “I don’t know of any facts that would lead to the conclusion that this event was racially motivated. If there are such facts, I’m ready to be educated.”
Surveillance footage of the incident was captured, though it has not been released. Ballin objects to making it public, claiming that would taint a jury pool.
Livingston is being held on $1.8 million bond.