Brianna Brochu, a white former student of Connecticut University, has pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal mischief and breach of peace after contaminating her black roommate's belongings with bodily fluids. The decision to not prosecute Brochu on hate crime charges has many outraged, sparking protests.
According to The Washington Post, Brochu had taken to social media to brag about rubbing used tampons on the backpack of Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe's and putting her toothbrush “where the sun doesn’t shine.” She also tainted her roommate's lotions with moldy clam dip and had spit into her coconut oil. Her roommate had experienced throat pain following the contamination. Brochus had described Rowe as "Jamaican Barbie" in the social media posts.
Rowe had told police that Brochu had “generally ignored her and treated her as a ghost," when they were roommates. Before this, Brochu had posted videos of Rowe snoring online to make fun of her.
Prosecutors claim they are still investigating the situation and have declined further comment, saying their decisions are based on evidence and the law.
Brochu and her lawyer, Tom Stevens, say that her actions were not racially motivated. She did not give a comment on the situation as she left the court.
"I think that when it's all said and done, what you're going to see is that there was nothing racist that motivated this," Stevens said outside the courthouse. "These were two students who were placed together ... who didn't like each other ... and it escalated."
"She should be charged with a hate crime," said NAACP Greater Hartford Branch President Imam Abdul-Shahid Muhammad Ansari, who attended the hearing. "We made our feelings known and will continue to do so, letting the community know and elected officials know as well."
“We are very very disappointed with the prosectors … not pressing this case hard enough,” echoed NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile. “They are not making this an urgent matter from where we sit ... We expect [the prosecutors] to fight on behalf of the people of our community. This is a hate crime. Let’s stop playing games. Let’s stop pushing this away.”
The case will be continued until January 29th.
[Photo: West Hartford Police Dept]