White campground manager pulls gun on black couple having picnic in viral video
A Mississippi couple who hoped to have a peaceful picnic during the Memorial Day weekend received a rude awakening instead when a campground manager pulled a gun on them and told them to leave, according to the Washington Post.
Jessica Richardson and her husband Franklin, both of whom are black, had planned to picnic at Oktibbeha County Lake, a popular fishing destination near Starkville, until a white woman who identified herself as the property manager approached them with her gun drawn out and told them to exit the premises. The confrontation was caught in a 37-second clip that was posted on Sunday, and the video has since amassed more than 6,000 comments.
"This lady literally just pulled a gun because we're out here and didn't have reservations for a lake that we didn't even know we had to have reservations for," Jessica says in the clip. "We didn't know that. All you had to do was tell us."
The woman tries to explain herself and tells them that the campgrounds the Richardsons are on is private property, as the two repeatedly insist that they would have left if they had known earlier.
"That's all you had to say," Jessica tells her.
The incident sparked angry comments from fellow Facebook users, many of whom condemned the woman for escalating the situation.
"I am feeling real upset at how things worked out for you and your husband," one person wrote. "It is appalling that this [woman] at her age would do something like that without measuring the consequences. It all boils down to accountability and the lack of humanity."
Jessica told WCBI that she and Franklin had searched for a nearby Kampgrounds of America location and decided to drive there, but they were confused by the signs at the front entrance upon arriving at Oktibbeha County Lake. Minutes after the couple settled at a location they thought would be acceptable, the woman made her way towards them with a gun, Jessica said.
"She jumped out and the gun was pointed at me, my husband, and our dog," Jessica told the station. "It was just pointed at us. One finger was on the trigger and one finger was on the level of the revolver."
The manner in which the woman conducted herself was clearly racist, Jessica added.
"You can feel the intent behind it," she said. "I felt it. I felt the heat from it. I felt it in her eyes. I knew exactly what it was."
To make matters worse, the incident took place not too long after Franklin, an Army National Guard Sergeant, returned from a nine-month deployment in the Middle East.
"It's kind of crazy," he told the station. "You go over there and don't have a gun pointed at you, and you come back home and the first thing that happens is you have a gun pointed at you. It's kind of crazy to think about."
The Richardsons said that, on the way out, they spoke to another campground employee, who turned out to be the woman's husband. That staff member reportedly contradicted the woman and said the Richardsons didn't, in fact, need a reservation for the lake.
In a statement to WCBI, Kampgrounds of America said the woman in the video was fired.
"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 statement. "The employee involved in the incident has been relieved of her duties at the Starkville KOA."