The former University of Hartford student accused of harassing her Black roommate by smearing used tampons over her belongings avoided a hate crime charge on Monday.
Brianna Brochu, 18, who is white, appeared in Hartford Superior Court but did not comment as she left the courthouse. She pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminal mischief and breach of peace.
Civil rights advocates called for Brochu to face hate crimes charges in addition to the other charges. However, the court decided not to pursue those additional charges, drawing condemnation from activist groups.
“She should be charged with a hate crime,” NAACP Greater Hartford Branch President Imam Abdul-Shahid Muhammad Ansari told NBC News. “We made our feelings known and will continue to do so, letting the community know and elected officials know as well.”
Brochu allegedly called her Black roommate Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe “Jamaican Barbie” and embarked on a long-running campaign to get rid of her roommate by a series of disgusting behaviors, including putting Rowe’s toothbrush up her rectum.
Rowe said in a Facebook video that she and her roommate had a rocky relationship. For example, Brochu would come in and turn off the lights if Rowe was working. However, it wasn’t until she started “getting sick” that things came to a head.
“It started with throat pain,” she explained. “I thought maybe because it’s colder up here, I’m just catching a cold. After a month it got to the point where I had extreme throat pain that I couldn’t sleep, to the point where I couldn’t speak.”
However, it wasn’t until Rowe finally moved out that she realized what her roommate had done, when she saw this post from Brochu on her Instagram: “Finally did it yo girl got rid of her roommate!! After 1 1/12 month 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.”
Prosecutors say they are still investigating the case.