For the time being, video footage of an unarmed Black man being fatally shot by a white man in a quarrel over the victim playing loud music at a Memphis gas station will be kept out of the public eye.
After being approached by Gregory Livingston, an unlicensed security guard, Alvin Motley, 48, was shot in the chest at a Kroger gas station on Poplar Ave. on Aug. 7.
Shelby County Judge Louis Montesi temporarily halted the release of CCTV footage from the shooting until the preliminary hearing, which is planned for Sept. 28.
Judge Montesi stated that he did so to ensure that Livingston has a fair and unbiased trial. The attorneys for the former Kroger employee stated, “The public distribution of discovery papers to the public can have a detrimental effect on the defendant.”
“Given that both the family and the prosecution have asked for the video to be disclosed, I believe it is the right thing to do, and I don’t believe it will jeopardize the defendant obtaining a fair trial,” said Van Turner, president of the NAACP Memphis branch.
On behalf of the victim’s family, civil rights attorney Ben Crump issued the following statement:
“The Motley family and our legal team are dismayed by the court’s decision today to keep the video footage from the day Alvin Motley was cruelly murdered from being made public. The court’s ruling adds to the delay in providing the family and community with the clarity, openness, and answers they deserve. Decisions like this do nothing to boost public trust in equal justice and due process in the case of African Americans. We have never seen a video showing a Black guy killing a white man be withheld from public release due to concerns about the defendant receiving a fair and unbiased jury, as we see here. Alvin’s quest for justice is far from over.”
Family members of the victim have seen the clip, according to a Fox 13 Memphis reporter on Twitter, prompting their calls for the video to be made public.
“It should be noted that several members of Motley, Jr.’s family have already viewed the films and have launched public pleas for their release. Prosecutors backed those claims as well.”
Witnesses to the fatal altercation between Motley and Livingston, including Motley’s girlfriend, said the former security officer yelled that the music needed to be turned down. Motley refused to comply with Livingston’s request. Instead, witnesses say he approached the man and asked to speak with him about the situation.
Motley was shot as he walked toward Livingston. Motley had a beer can and a cigarette in his hands at the moment. Livingston dialed 911 to report that he had shot a man at the gas station. Officers discovered Motley lifeless by a gas pump when they arrived. Although Motley’s family believes the charge should be upgraded, the 54-year-old was charged with second-degree murder.
After Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich recused herself owing to a conflict of interest, the investigation was taken over by the Nashville prosecutor’s office. Weirich revealed that one investigator in her office worked for Allied Universal, the security firm linked to Livingston.
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