The white Mississippi campground manager who was filmed pulling a gun on a black couple who were trying to enjoy a picnic by a lake has been arrested, but only charged with a misdemeanour.
Ruby Nell Howell, 70, of Starkville is charged with threatening exhibition of a weapon. She turned herself into the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, before being released on a $500 bail, and is scheduled to appear in court on June 25.
If she is convicted, she faces up to three months in prison, and a maximum fine of $500. She was fired from Kampgrounds of America after she was filmed approaching Franklin and Jessica Richardson while holding a gun on May 26, reports the Daily Mail.
In the original video, which went viral, Howell can be seen approaching the African American couple, with her gun drawn after she arrives at the scene in a truck.
Speaking to the woman, Richardson says:
The only thing you had to tell us was to leave, we would have left. You didn't have to pull a gun.
In response, Howell shoots back:
Well I'm just telling you you need to leave because it's under private ownership. You can't be out here.
Eventually, Howell puts her gun away in her shorts, continuing to speak to the couple, before they walk away with their dog. They had simply been wanting to have a picnic by the lake.
Posting the video to Facebook, Richardson said:
RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL!!
Today was a beautiful day so my husband (who's a vet), our 2 year old dog, and myself, decided to Google a lake to visit and have a picnic.
We found a lake located in starkville, ms and decided to visit.
Not five mins later a truck pulls up and a white lady screams at us, she then jumps out of her truck with a Gun.
And proceeded to point it at the 3 of us, simply because we didn't make reservations.
After leaving my husband stopped by the office and talked with her husband (they're the property managers).
The husband tells my husband that reservations aren't needed for the lake. This happened In Starkville,Ms
After the footage went viral, Kampgrounds of America, which has 500 private campgrounds across America, fired Howell after investigating the incident.
In a statement, they said:
KOA Inc. is aware of the situation that occurred Sunday, May 26th at the KOA franchise in Starkville, Mississippi.
Unfortunately, the campground employee felt it necessary to display a firearm during the interaction with the two individuals and their dog.
Kampgrounds of America prides itself on providing a welcoming, safe environment for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.