Video footage of an unlicensed security guard shooting and killing an unarmed Black man at a local Kroger gas station in Memphis, Tennessee, in August was shown in court this week after a judge made a ruling last month temporarily blocking the public’s access to it.
According to a local ABC news affiliate, after a close review of the graphic video at a probable cause hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 28, a Shelby County criminal court judge ruled that there was no evidence to support that the shooting of Alvin Motley Jr. was justified and allowed the case to be tried in front of a grand jury.
Motley was shot and killed on Saturday, Aug. 7, by Gregory Livingston, an unlicensed guard who worked at the convenience store, following a dispute over loud music being played from the Black man’s car. The incident took place in front of several onlookers, including Motley’s girlfriend.
Witnesses said Livingston, who is white, yelled for the music to be turned down. However, against his girlfriend’s wishes, Motley exited his vehicle to go confront the man. As he walked towards Livingston, Motley said, “Let’s talk like men.”
In the video, shown to the public for the first time, Motley could be seen walking up to Livingston, who already had his gun drawn out. The victim was reportedly holding a lit cigarette and beer can at the time of the incident. Seconds later, Livingston, a former Mississippi police officer, shoots Motley in the chest and he falls to the ground.
Witnesses testified that they heard Livingston tell the victim to “Back up, back up” as he approached him. Livingston paced back and forth around Motley’s body as another unidentified person walked up as well.
Following the hearing, Motley’s family, who had initially pleaded to have the video shown proving the man was not a threat before he was killed, held a news conference alongside their attorney, civil rights lawyer Ben Crump.
“They said what this family has been feeling the whole time — that this was not only unnecessary, not only unjustifiable, but it was a heartless killing of a young man who was armed only with a can of beer and a cigarette,” Crump explained.
“And it was so shocking when you watch that video that you have to catch a breath and ask yourself, did you see what you just saw? A man with a can of beer taking a puff of a cigarette is shot in cold blood.”
Motley’s father, Alvin Motley Sr. said he was “heartbroken,” before adding, “I didn’t hate the gentleman, but I’m outraged beyond all measure. Because he shot my son.”
He continued, “My son shouldn’t have been shot, I mean, he shot my son while on the phone talking to 911 saying he’s being aggressive. And he was just totally lying. My son was walking up towards him. It’s unbearable what I’m feeling now. And I want him punished to the fullest extent, in the sense of, as I said earlier, for whatever years I have left on this earth, I want him to be locked away and think about what he did every single day, just like I have to.”
When asked, Livingston’s attorney, Leslie Ballin, declined to comment on the matter, only stating that “the video, the audio, need to be taken together.” Livingston has been charged with second-degree murder and is currently being held on a $1.8 million bond.
Warning: Video shows graphic events surrounding a fatal shooting.