A White Campground Employee Pulled A Gun On A Black Couple Trying To Have A Picnic
The employee has been fired after a video of the encounter went viral on Facebook.
A white campground manager in Mississippi has been fired after pulling a gun on a black couple who had stopped by with their dog to have a picnic.
Franklin and Jessica Richardson, along with their 2-year-old dog, decided to have a lakeside picnic on Memorial Day. They went to Oktibbeha County Lake, near Starkville, Mississippi, a site run by Kampgrounds of America (KOA).
Within minutes of their arriving, a woman in a yellow KOA employee shirt appeared in a truck.
When she got out she had a gun in her right hand, her finger on the trigger. The woman identified herself as the campground's manager and told the couple to leave, that they didn't belong, and that they needed reservations.
"This lady literally just pulled a gun because we out here and din't have reservations for a lake we didn't even know we had to have reservations for," Jessica Richardson says in a video she took of the confrontation and posted to Facebook.
"The only thing you had to do was tell us to leave, we would have left, you did not have to pull a gun," Richardson tells the woman.
“You can feel the intent behind it. I felt it. I felt the heat from it. I felt it in her eyes. I knew exactly what it was,” Richardson told local news station WCBI.
She also told the station she was shocked that the woman told them to "get, get," like what you'd say to an animal.
“Time stopped. Everything stopped. I was confused as to what was going on. It’s not like we posed a threat to anybody out there walking our dog. There’s nothing harmful about that,” Richardson told WCBI.
In the video, the woman can be seen putting the gun in the pocket of her shorts.
"Racism is alive and well," Richardson wrote in the video's caption. She said her husband also checked in with another employee — who happened to be the woman in yellow's husband — who said reservations were not required to use the grounds.
KOA also clarified that reservations are not required for the site, which is privately owned. Guests are asked to register upon arrival, which the Richardsons didn't know.
"That, of course, in no way excuses the employee’s behavior toward the couple," a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
In a statement, KOA told BuzzFeed News the woman has been let go.
"Unfortunately, the campground employee felt it necessary to display a firearm during the interaction with the two individuals and their dog," the statement said.
"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. The employee involved in the incident has been relieved of her duties at the Starkville KOA."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to the Richardsons for comment.