Ex-Student Who Used Bodily Fluids to Harass Black Roommate, Avoids Hate Crime Charge
"This is a hate crime. Let's stop playing games," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP Connecticut chapter.
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
A white man stabbed Ann Marie Washington in a subway station and "started punching her in her face because she was Black," a witness said.
A 57-year-old Black woman is recovering from surgery to repair a collapsed lung because while exiting a subway in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was punched in the mouth and stabbed by a white man who called her a "Black b--ch" The NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the attack as a hate crime.
A hate crime investigation is possible, said the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers released information that Gregory Alan Bush tried unsuccessfully to enter a predominantly Black church 15 minutes before the Kroger shooting in Louisville, Ky.
Brennan Walker testified: "I turned back and I saw him aiming at me ... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot."
The jury at Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan found Jeffrey Craig Ziegler, age 53, guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
They deliberated less than three hours on Friday after closing arguments, where the prosecutor, Kelly Collins, argued that Ziegler "was the danger," not the teen. Brennan Walker narrowly escaped fatal injury because Ziegler forgot to turn off the safety on his 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun. The video showed he was unable to immediately fire at first, and police confirmed the safety was initially on.
Ziegler's attorney, Robert Morad, argued his client was firing a warning shot in the air one time and never chased after Walker.
The original charge was assault with intent to murder, punishable by up to life in prison, but Ziegler was convicted on the lesser charge and faces up to 10 years in prison.
He showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Lisa Wright, Walker's mother, cried as the verdict was read. She had accused Ziegler of taking actions that were racially motivated. Her friend Carin Poole said justice was served "in some way."
Poole also said the hope was for a more serious charge.
According to a study done by the Equal Justice Initiative:
White defendants were 25 percent more likely than black defendants to have their most serious initial charge dropped or reduced to a less severe charge; approximately 15 percent more likely than similar black defendants to be convicted of a misdemeanor instead. White defendants with no prior convictions were over 25 percent more likely than black defendants with no prior convictions to receive a charge reduction.
Ziegler testified that he thought Walker was an adult, at 6-feet, 2-inches tall, and that "instinct" made him grab his gun to protect his wife.
Walker testified: "I turned back and I saw him aiming at me... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot."
Morad said outside of court that the home security video could appear to show Ziegler was firing in Walker's direction, but said the shot goes away from where the teen was running.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, "That's just completely unacceptable on every level. I don't know how you would justify it, but it certainly doesn't pass the muster," said Bouchard.
Judge Wendy Potts revoked Ziegler's bond and ordered him to jail pending sentencing Nov. 13.
Reader Question: When sentencing happens in a month, how much time in do you think Ziegler will be sentenced to?
Calling the cops on innocent Black people could get you charged with a hate crime, if Hamilton's proposal passes.
New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton has announced his proposal for 911 Anti-Discrimination legislation. If the law passes, it would add false reporting statutes to the list of hate crimes in New York State law.
Is American Airlines still at it?
$5M bail set for Samuel Woodward.
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Bail for Samuel Woodward, accused of stabbing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein to death in January, has been set at $5 million, and Woodward needs a new lawyer.
"How many times can we say the N-word to the bartender before we get kicked out," Joden Rocco said in a video.
Joden Rocco, a 24-year old white man, tried to see how many times he could say the N-word before getting kicked out of a bar in Pittsburgh. Rocco's game resulted in him killing a Black man, Dulane Cameron Jr., also age 24.
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The men said they were wasting resources, meanwhile real terrorists were out there.
Three former federal air marshals, Steve Theodoropoulos, Henry Preston, and Ed Cunningham, said they were told by a supervisor to target "the Black people" when they worked in Orlando because "they're the ones who have warrants."
"But he didn't use 'Black people' he used the n-word," said Theodoropoulos.