Brianna Brochu, a white, former University of Hartford student who rubbed her used tampons on her Black roommate, Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe's, backpack and allegedly put Rowe's toothbrush in places "where the sun doesn't shine," will not face hate crime charges.
On Monday in Hartford Superior Court, Brochu, 18, pleaded not guilty to charges of breach of peace and criminal mischief. Last month, the West Hartford police requested the charge of intimidation based on bigotry or bias be added to her case. Civil rights organizations, including Connecticut's NAACP, have also asked the state to add the hate crime charge.
However, prosecutors did not file additional charges against Brochu.
"We are very, very disappointed with the prosecutors … not pressing this case hard enough," Scot X. Esdaile, president of the local NAACP, told The Hartford Courant. "They are not making this an urgent matter from where we sit."
— Ben Goldman (@BenGoldmanTV) December 18, 2017
Tom Stevens, Brochu's lawyer, has said his client's actions weren't racially motivated.
In October, Rowe, 18, posted a Facebook Live video detailing her ordeal with Brochu. The post went viral on social media.
Rowe said she didn't understand Brochu's actions.
"I don't understand why, which is why I think it's a whole racial/hate issue," she said in the video.
Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe's University of Hartford roommate used her bodily fluids to contaminate her possessions.
After Rowe requested and was granted a different room, Brochu stated the following in an Instagram post on Oct. 17, according to court documents:
"Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate!! After 1 1/2 months of spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotions, rubbing used tampons on her backpack, putting her toothbrush places where the sun doesn't shine, and so much more I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie."
Rowe also said Brochu's efforts made her sick as she consistently suffered from a sore throat. Following her arrest, Brochu was expelled from the college.
University of Hartford President Greg Woodward said in October that "acts of racism, bias, bullying, or other abusive behaviors will not be tolerated on this campus."
Brochu said she was retaliating against Rowe for posting an unflattering Snapchat video of her snoring, according to Stevens. Brochu claims to have lied about her actions on Instagram, "to appear funny," she told police. But she admitted to putting tampon blood Rowe's backpack and licking her fork, spoon and plate. She denies any other actions.
Brochu requested a jury trial on Monday and the case was continued until Jan. 29.
Esdaile was also disappointed by the trial continuance.
"We expect [the prosecutors] to fight on behalf of the people of our community," he said. "This is a hate crime. Let's stop playing games. Let's stop pushing this away."
The #JusticeforJazzy hashtag, used in October to bring attention to Rowe's plight, is now being used to speak out against the prosecutors' decision not to file hate crime charges.
The Women's March Connecticut chapter tweeted:
In what world is smearing your menstrual blood on your black roommate's backpack, calling her Jamaican Barbie, and then bragging about that (and more) on social media not indicative of a hate crime? #JusticeForJazzy https://t.co/v1yMUqSTMF
— Women's March CT (@womensmarchct) December 19, 2017