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George Zimmerman Supporter Sprays 'Long Live Zimmerman' On Wall At Ohio State University

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George Zimmerman, the Florida man who told police he shot and killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin in self-defense, has become a flashpoint figure for those calling for Zimmerman's arrest. But he’s also rallied a legion of supporters of his own.

Commenters on various websites have come to his defense. Right-wing columnists and bloggers have launched what critics say is a “smear campaign” against Martin, painting him as a thug and drug dealer. And Thursday morning, the words “Long Live Zimmerman” were found spray-painted on the side of Ohio State University’s black cultural center.

“Just learned of vandalism at our Hale Center. Deplorable act of intolerance – not who we are at Ohio State. Our Police are investigating,” E. Gordon Gee, the school’s president, tweeted Thursday morning, referring to the graffiti found at The Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center. The center is housed in Hale Hall and is part of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Gee is expected to make a public statement about the vandalism later Thursday, according to The Lantern, the university’s newspaper.

“We're rallying together, as you can see, we’re working with University Police. As you can see, the Student Life is taking care of it and getting it off the building and things,” Larry Williamson, director of the Hale Center, told The Lantern. “Our thing is to just make sure that our students are going to be safe and ... that things don’t actually happen.”

The graffiti has since been removed.

“We want to be sure that these types of things don’t happen here at the Ohio State University,” Williamson told the paper. “This is not the kind of climate that Ohio State is trying to have here at this university. The university prides itself in diversity and you have things like that that takes a step back.”

Williamson said heightened security has been added around the building.

The Feb. 26 killing of Martin sparked outrage in Sanford, Fla., where the shooting occurred, but also prompted rallies and protests across the country and as far away as London. But in recent weeks, the tenor of the conversation around the case seems to have shifted, from overwhelming support for calls of Zimmerman’s arrest, to some pushback by conservatives who have blasted Martin’s supporters, attacked the teen’s character, and lashed out at some of the Martin family’s most high-profile and ardent supporters.

Shelby Steele, a self-described black conservative, wrote a scathing indictment of the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson in a column published by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

“The Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, ubiquitous icons of black protest, virtually battled each other to stand at the bereaved family's side,” Steele wrote. “In fact Trayvon's sad fate clearly sent a quiver of perverse happiness all across America's civil rights establishment, and throughout the mainstream media as well.”

A white supremacist hacker also claimed last week to have broken into Martin's email and social networking accounts and posted online what he said were Martin's private messages.

The political blog Little Green Footballs recently published the comments posted under an article on Fox News' website. Charles Johnson, who runs the blog, wrote that the comments were “packed with whiny right wing victimhood and overt racism.”

To whit, here’s a sampling from the post:

What a shame—a tragedy, really— because the dead lil’ gangsta could’ve used “‘A-FIRM-TIV AK-SHUN” to go to kollige an play footballz and make lotsa cash munny!”

[...]

Why should anyone care about this kid? Because he is of color? People don’t value kids period. They are property. BTW, I am a conservative that cares a great deal about kids. We follow hundreds of cases each year, many white babies and children, none of them get attention. But he does??

[...]

Zimmerman felt threatened by Martin’s gang’s actions…this could have possibly lead to these terrible circumstances. Gang violence MUST BE STOPPED OBAMA!

[...]

Blacks can do no wrong, period! That is the DOJ’s excuse for becoming involved. 50+ years of being told they are special and entitled and the gov’t’s only focus is to make it so!!

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