May 29, 2019

Action Alert:
Call for Charges Against Campground Manager who Pulled Gun on Black Couple

Update: On June 5, 2019, Ruby Nell Howell, 70, was arrested for pointed a loaded gun at the Richardsons and charged with threatening exhibit of a weapon! She has been released from jail on a $500 bond pending trial. The crime is  punishable by up to three months in county jail and a fine of $500.A big thanks to all who contacted DA Colom in this campaign!

On May 26, 2019, Jessica Richardson and her husband decided visit a lake in Starkville, Mississippi. They took their two year-old dog with them.  As they were walking around the tranquil lake, a truck rapidly approached and an older white woman wearing a Kampgrounds of America (KOA) t-shirt began to scream, telling them she was a property manager and reservations were needed to walk along the lake. Then she brandished a handgun and pointed it at the Richardsons, who are black. 

The unidentified KOA property manager and her handgun.

Jessica Richardson filmed on phone video as she and her husband calmly talked the woman down. Then the Richardsons went to the office where the woman works and spoke with her husband, who co-manages the property with her. He told the Richardsons no reservation was needed to be at the lake. 

KOA has fired the woman—who still has yet to be identified—but she is not facing any criminal charges for illegally brandishing a firearm under Mississippi law and needlessly endangering the lives of the Richardsons.

Please contact Oktibbeha County District Attorney Scott Colom and give him the following message, personalized to your liking:

I was very upset to see video of an unidentified, white, female property manager with Kampgrounds of America (KOA) brandishing a loaded handgun at Jessica Richardson and her husband on May 26, 2019. The woman lied to the Richardsons, telling them they needed a permit to be at the lake in Starksville. Her dangerous and threatening behavior was clearly motivated by the fact that the Richardsons are black. My understanding is this woman has been fired by KOA, but she also should be charged with violating Mississippi code § 97-37-19 (threatening exhibition of weapons). This woman clearly brandished her firearm in a “threatening manner” and “not in necessary self-defense.” The Richardsons were walking their dog and totally harmless. I do NOT want to live in a society where gun owners can act on racist impulses like this and needlessly endanger the lives of others. I want to see you send a strong message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated in Oktibbeha County. Charge this woman! I will be watching your actions in this case closely and I vote.

Oktibbeha County District Attorney Scott Colom
Phone: (662) 324-3251

Sample tweet:
.@scottcolom, please charge campground manager who pointed handgun at Jessica Richardson & husband for illegally brandishing #GunControlNow

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