A campground manager in Eastern Mississippi has been fired after pulling a gun on a black couple, including a veteran, while they were having a Memorial Day picnic.
26-year-old Jessica Richardson, and her husband, 28-year-old Sergeant Franklin Richardson — a veteran of the Army National Guard who served a nine-month deployment in the Middle East — were both at a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground at the Oktibbeha County lake in Starkville, Mississippi with their dog on Memorial Day. According to local news outlet WCBI, the Richardsons asked the campground’s front office attendant if they needed a reservation to picnic at the lake, and were told that no reservation was necessary.
But during their picnic, the Richardsons were approached by a KOA employee who was displaying a gun. HuffPost reported that a KOA staffer identified the woman as Ruby Howell, the campground manager. Jessica Richardson recorded her encounter with Howell on her cellphone.
The real owners of the property, fired the campground employee right after this incident.
— Jimmy ✊🏾 (@Jwheels208) May 29, 2019
“She jumped out [of her car] and the gun was pointed at me, my husband, and our dog,” Jessica Richardson told WCBI. “It was just pointing at us. One finger was on the trigger and one finger was on the lever of the revolver.”
“She was just like, ‘get, get, you don’t belong here, you don’t belong here, you don’t belong here,” Richardson continued. “The fact that she used ‘get, get’ like we were a dog. You say get, get to a stray dog that’s on your porch. That ‘get, get’ got to me more than ‘you don’t belong here.’ ”
KOA’s corporate office told WCBI that Howell has since been fired after Jessica Richardson’s video spread on social media.
“Kampgrounds of America does not condone the use of a firearm in any manner on our properties or those owned and operated by our franchisees,” KOA stated. “The employee involved in the incident has been relieved of her duties at the Starkville KOA.”
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.