Benjamin Elliot: University of Missouri Student Arrested for Racist Graffiti

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Benjamin Elliot: And here we thought white-man dreads were all about peace, love and understanding.
Police at the University of Missouri arrested an 18-year-old student Saturday night, on suspicion that the teen spray painted racist graffiti -- including the "n-word" -- on a campus statute.

Benjamin Elliot stands accused of second-degree property damage that could escalate into a felony hate crime. Elliot allegedly spray painted the slurs Friday night outside a Columbia dormitory. At 3:15 a.m. Saturday a fellow student texted the dorm's residential coordinator, who received the message around 9:15 a.m. and alerted authorities. Police interviewed students and reviewed surveillance cameras before making the arrest 12 hours later.

The school's chancellor, Brady Deaton, condemned the graffiti and asked that "we come together as a Mizzou family to deplore this action and to celebrate the diversity of our community."

Last March the Mizzou campus was rocked by a similar scandal in which two students were accused of spreading cotton balls on the lawn of the school's black culture center in an alleged hate crime. Those students later pleaded guilty to littering and left the school. 

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