Brianna Brochu, the former University of Hartford student accused of harassing her roommate by smearing bodily fluid on the roommate’s backpack and tampering with other items, pleaded not guilty Monday.
Brochu, a Harwinton resident who was expelled from the university after her alleged harassment of her roommate came to light, was charged by West Hartford police with breach of peace and criminal mischief. She asked for a trial by jury and the case was continued to Jan. 29.
Brochu, who is white, told police that she did not have a good relationship with her roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, who is black. Brochu claimed Rowe was rude to her and posted videos online of her snoring to make fun of her.
The NAACP and others have publicly supported Rowe and have urged Hartford prosecutors to file a hate crime charge against Brochu, but prosecutors have declined to discuss the matter other than to say their decisions are guided by the evidence and the law.
Attorney Thomas Stevens, representing Brochu, has told The Courant he does not believe a hate crime charge will be added.
Brochu told police she lashed out at Rowe and said she licked her plate, fork and spoon, put blood from a used tampon on her backpack, and mixed her lotions with other lotions from Rowe’s desk.
Rowe told police that Brochu “generally ignored her and treated her as a ghost,” according to the warrant for Brochu’s arrest. She had asked for a room change and was moving her belongings out of the room on Oct. 17 when Brochu’s Instagram post describing her alleged conduct surfaced.
On Monday, representatives of the NAACP again protested outside Hartford Superior Court, saying they are concerned that Brochu has not been charged with a hate crime.
“We are very very disappointed with the prosectors … not pressing this case hard enough,” said NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile. “They are not making this an urgent matter from where we sit.”
He also complained about the 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.”