Yet Another Black Man Has Been Killed Over Loud Music

The suspected shooter had a “verbal altercation” with the victim about “the volume of music” coming from his car.
August 10, 2021, 6:57pm
Suspected shooter Gregory Livingston had a "verbal altercation" with the victim about loud music.
Suspected shooter Gregory Livingston had a "verbal altercation" with the victim about loud music. (Booking photo: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

A security guard is facing a murder charge after he allegedly shot and killed a Black man on Saturday during an argument about loud music at a Kroger Fuel Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

Gregory Livingston, the suspected shooter—and also reportedly a former cop— had a “verbal altercation” with Alvin Motley Jr. Saturday night over “the volume of music” coming from the vehicle he was in as a passenger, according to an affidavit in the case sent to VICE News by a Memphis Police Department spokesperson. 

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Motley went over to talk to Livingston, got back into the car, and then exited again, telling the security guard, “Let’s talk like men.” The 54-year-old, who is white, then pulled out a gun and shot Motley in the chest, the affidavit said. 

Motley, who was holding a beer can and a lit cigarette, died at the scene, according to the affidavit. Ben Crump, the famed civil rights lawyer and an attorney for Motley’s family, said during a press conference Tuesday that Motley, a Chicago resident, was killed for the color of his skin.

“Alvin Motley has a right to exist, to pump gas, and play his music because this is America,” Crump said. “And nobody has the right to kill a young Black man for playing music.”

Motley’s father, Alvin Motley Sr., said through tears Tuesday that he’d never had an argument with son, while Motley’s sister called her brother the “life of the party.”

“I just want justice for my son,” Motley Sr. said.

Motley is not the first Black person to be killed in America after a disagreement about loud music, Crump noted: an Oregon man was accused of fatally shooting a Black teen playing music in a hotel parking lot last year, while a Florida man was sentenced to life in prison in 2014 after gunning down a black 17-year-old who was listening to rap in a car full of fellow teenagers. Crump brought up the latter case during his press conference Tuesday, saying it was “eerily similar” to what had happened to Motley. 

Livingston was arrested over Motley’s death and is currently behind held at the Shelby County Jail on a $1.8 million bond for a charge of second-degree murder, records show. The former Horn Lake, Mississippi officer—who was only employed at that agency from August 1998 to April 2001—reportedly was not a licensed armed security guard at the time of the shooting, according to WREG, a local CBS affiliate

It was unclear whether Livingston had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

In a statement, Kroger said he was a third-party contractor who provided “security services” for the fuel center. 

“We are deeply saddened, extremely angry and horrified by this senseless violence. Our hearts are with the Motley family,” Kroger said. “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.”

A spokesperson for the contractor providing security to the Kroger, Allied Universal, told VICE News: “We are currently conducting an investigation and are working closely with law enforcement agencies. At Allied Universal, our number one goal is to ensure that we uphold high standards of security services within our communities with care and professionalism. Since this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment further at this time.”