UPDATE March 15:
Brianna Brochu, the white former student at the University of Hartford student who was accused of harassing her Black roommate by smearing bloody tampons on the roommate’s backpack, was sentenced to probation on Monday.
Brochu has received a special form of probation that could allow her to avoid a criminal record, according to the Hartford Courant.
Her former roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, told Judge Omar Williams that she did not oppose Brochu’s request for accelerated rehabilitation.
Brochu will have to perform 200 hours of community service — including 50 at a literacy organization in Greater Hartford and 50 at a social services group. If she completes the requirements of her probation, the charges of breach of peace and criminal mischief will be dismissed after two years.
Brochu, of Harwinton, must also have no contact with Rowe and submit to a mental health evaluation.
Brochu’s lawyer, Thomas Stevens, apologized on her behalf and said Brochu had wanted to apologize sooner but he advised her not to in order to avoid civil litigation. He said Brochu has lost her scholarship to attend the University of Hartford and a job she held at the time. Since then, she found another job and has been working to raise the money to pay her legal fees.
UPDATE December 17:
Former University of Hartford student Brianna Brochu, who is accused of harassing her Black roommate by smearing bodily fluids on the roommate’s backpack and messing with other items, will avoid being charged with a hate crime.
On Monday, Brochu pleaded not guilty to breach of peace and criminal mischief in connection to the alleged harassment against Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, reported the Hartford Courant.
Brochu asked for a trial by jury in her case, which is scheduled to be continued on Jan. 29.
The NAACP and others have demanded Hartford prosecutors to file a hate crime charge against Brochu, but prosecutors have maintained their decisions are guided by the evidence and the law.
On Monday, representatives of the NAACP protested outside Hartford Superior Court and expressed their frustration with the missing hate crime charge.
“We are very very disappointed with the prosecutors … not pressing this case hard enough,” NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile told the Hartford Courant. “They are not making this an urgent matter from where we sit.”
Esdaile also expressed an expectation for the prosecutors to act on behalf of all members of the community.
“We expect [the prosecutors] to fight on behalf of the people of our community,” he added. “This is a hate crime. Let’s stop playing games. Let’s stop pushing this away.”
The attorney for former University of Hartford student Brianna Brochu, who is accused of harassing her roommate by defiling her things with bodily fluids, said he does not expect hate crime charges to be filed in the case.
While standing outside the Hartford Superior Court on Tuesday, attorney Thomas Stevens explained he believed Brochu’s actions were not based on race, reported the Hartford Courant.
“I think this is sort of not the case that you all have been fanning the flame on,” Stevens told the Courant. “I think when it’s all said and done, what you’re gonna see is there was nothing racial that motivated this.”
Brochu, who is white, told police that she and her roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, who is Black, did not have a good relationship. Brochu claimed Rowe posted videos of her snoring to social media in order to make fun of her.
Stevens believes the issues the girls had were normal, college dorm problems.
“This was two students who were placed together, I think randomly … who didn’t like each other, like has been happening since kids went to school and became roommates,” Stevens told reporters.
However, the NAACP and other activists have stood behind Rowe, who believed Brochu's actions caused her to get a throat infection. The NAACP called for Hartford prosecutors to file a hate crime charge against Brochu, but those charges have not yet been filed. Prosecutors said their decisions are guided by the evidence and the law.
When she was first questioned by police, Brochu admitted to licking Rowe’s plate, fork and spoon, putting blood from a used tampon on her backpack, and mixing her lotions with other lotions from Rowe’s desk.
Stevens said that Brochu regrets what she did. And he doesn’t think hate charges will be filed against Brochu because, “I don’t think there’s evidence of that.”
“There was a tipping point that caused my client to do whatever she did and it was when Ms. Rowe took some unflattering videotape of her and posted it,” Stevens told the Courant. “And that for her was a tipping point.”
(Photos from left Mark Mirko/Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images, Fox News via YouTube)