During the Memorial Day weekend, Franklin and Jessica Richardson wanted to spend their Sunday together by having a picnic at Oktibbeha County Lake in Starkville, Mississippi, but a chance run-in with a gun-toting white woman put an end to their plans.
When the Richardson family arrived at the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) site, a white woman brandished a gun and informed them that they weren’t allowed to use the site without a reservation.
“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 said. “The only thing you had to do was tell us.”
“Well, I’m just telling you, you need to leave because it’s under private ownership,” the property manager replied. “Y’all just can’t be out here. KOA won’t let you.”
According to WCBI, Franklin, who recently returned from a 9-month deployment overseas, said the experience was harrowing.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Franklin told 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.”
And Jessica, in the 39-second video, said the experience proved that “racism is alive and well.”
When the Richardsons went to the campground office to complain, they met the property manager’s husband, who gave them conflicting information.
“I get out and start talking to him,” Franklin Richardson told WCBI. “The first thing he says is, ‘Oh, you don’t need a reservation for the lake.’ Then, she pulls up flying, hops out of the car, then proceeded to yell at my wife, ‘Get in the car, you need to get back in the car,’ just cussing her out and she’s not even saying anything.”
According to KOA, the unnamed employee has been terminated.