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‘Disheartened’: Judge Temporarily Blocks Public Release of Video Showing White Security Guard Gunning Down Unarmed Black Man at a Memphis Gas Station

Video footage showing the moment an unarmed Black man was fatally shot by a white man in a dispute over the victim playing loud music at a Memphis gas station will remain withheld from the public’s sight for now. 

On Aug. 7, Alvin Motley, 48, was shot in the chest at a Kroger gas station on Poplar Ave. after being approached by Gregory Livingston, an unlicensed security guard. 

Alvin Motley (left) was fatally shot on Aug. 7 following an encounter with Gregory Livingston (right) at an East Memphis gas station. (Photos: Motley Family/ABC 7 Chicago, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance)

Exactly one month after the shooting, Shelby County Judge Louis Montesi temporarily blocked release of surveillance footage showing the incident until the preliminary hearing set for Sept. 28.

Judge Montesi cited his reason as ensuring Livingston receives a fair and impartial hearing.

“The public dissemination of discovery documents to the public can have a prejudicial effect upon the defendant,” said the former Kroger employee’s attorneys. 

“Given that the family and prosecution have both asked that the video be released, I think it’s the correct thing to do and I don’t think this would prejudice the defendant receiving a fair trial at all,” argued Van Turner, president of the NAACP Memphis branch. 

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump released a statement on behalf of the victim’s family that reads:

“The Motley family and our legal team are disheartened by the court’s ruling today to continue to block the pubic release of the video footage from the day Alvin Motley was brutally killed. The court’s decision further delays the clarity, transparency, and answers that the family and community deserve. Decisions like this one do nothing to improve the public’s confidence in equal justice and due process as it relates to African Americans. We have never seen a video of a Black man killing a white man be blocked from public release out of concern for a fair and impartial jury for the defendant like we see here. The pursuit of justice for Alvin is far from over.”

@BenCrumpLaw

A Fox 13 Memphis reporter noted on Twitter that family members of the victim have seen the footage, which prompted their calls for the video to be made public.

“It should be pointed out for context that many in Motley, Jr’s family have already seen the videos and initiated public calls for its release. Prosecutors also backed those calls.”

Those who witnessed the deadly encounter between Motley and Livingston, including Motley’s girlfriend, say the former security guard yelled the music needed to be turned down. Motley did not oblige Livingston’s demand. Instead, witnesses say he approached the man wanting to discuss the issue.

As Motley walked toward Livingston he was shot. At the time Motley had two items in his hands, a beer can and a cigarette. 

Livingston called police and notified them that he’d shot a man at the fuel center. When officers arrived they found Motley lying lifeless near a fuel pump. The 54-year-old was charged with second-degree murder, although Motley’s family has said the charge should be upgraded. 

The case is being overseen by the Nashville prosecutor’s office after Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich recused herself due to a conflict of interest — Weirich stated said an investigator in her office also worked for Allied Universal, the security company linked to Livingston.

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