After a video of a KOA campground employee threatening a black veteran and his wife on Memorial Day with a gun went viral, an update on the employee’s status and Kampgrounds of America’s stance on the video has been issued. For many, the organization did not go nearly far enough.
The incident occurred on Memorial Day when Jessica Richardson and her husband, a veteran who recently completed a tour in the Middle East, were walking their dog and planning to have a picnic for the holiday. A white female employee of the campgrounds approached them with a gun drawn, yelling “Get! Get! You’re not allowed to be here!” according to Richardson, who then began filming the encounter.
The Washington Post reports:
‘A spokesman for Kampgrounds of America, a chain that oversees hundreds of commercial campgrounds nationwide, told The Washington Post on Tuesday that the property manager for the Starkville location had been fired. But for the Richardsons, the experience was made all the more harrowing — and somewhat ironic — by the fact that Franklin, a sergeant in the Army National Guard, had recently returned from a nine-month deployment in the Middle East.’
A white manager of a Mississippi campground has been fired after video showed her holding a gun while telling an African American couple to leave because they did not have a reservation. https://t.co/0PWYV0Z7OM
— KTLA 5 Morning News (@KTLAMorningNews) May 29, 2019
The employees’ firing, to many, did not go far enough. KOA’s statement said that they do not condone the use of firearms in any manner” on their grounds, but failed to add that they do not condone racism. Further, the woman’s husband, who is the grounds’ manager and told the couple that they did not need a reservation to picnic on the grounds as his wife had told them, remains employed.
‘The incident appears to have stemmed from confusion over whether the picnic spots by the lakefront were public or private property. To Jessica Richardson, who documented a snippet of the confrontation in a 39-second video that had been viewed more than 500,000 times on Facebook as of early Wednesday, the manager’s response proved that racism was “alive and well.”’
A white employee of a Mississippi campground has been fired after video showed her holding a gun while telling an African American couple to leave because they did not have a reservation. https://t.co/UAIAQuubIZ
— Detroit News: Nation (@dn_nation_world) May 29, 2019
Richardson’s treatment on Memorial Day is deplorable enough on its own, but the failure to address the root of the problem – which is clearly an issue of racism – makes the entire incident even more troubling. In an interview, the veteran said:
‘It’s kind of crazy. 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.’
Featured image screenshot via video