A revolting incident involving former University of Hartford student Brianna Brochu harassing her Black roommate in October was not “racist,” a lawyer for the disgraced student said Tuesday.
“I think that when it’s all said and done, what you’re going to see is that there was nothing racist that motivated this,” Attorney Tom Stevens, who is representing Brochu, said outside a Hartford, Connecticut courthouse, where his client faced a state judge over the case, NBC News reported. “These were two students who were placed together … who didn’t like each other … and it escalated.”
Brochu, 18, was under intense fire over off-putting accusations that she systemically poisoned her African-American roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe. Brochu had allegedly smeared bodily fluids on Rowe’s belongings. She was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and breach of peace, with hate crime charges being considered, the report says.
NAACP members, who gathered Tuesday outside the courthouse, demanded that prosecutors file felony hate crime charges against the teen, who is White.
Investigators are examining additional information at the request of Rowe’s lawyer, Hartford State’s Attorney Gail Hardy said Tuesday. Decisions to add charges will be based on evidence and the law, she added.
Brochu admitted to authorities that she did put tampon blood on Rowe’s backpack and licked Rowe’s plate, fork and spoon. She denied more accusations, including spitting in Rowe’s coconut oil, authorities said.
Her Instagram posts about the incident were only created in an attempt to “appear funny” and the words that she wrote were not true, she said. Her actions were in “retaliation for Rowe’s “rude behavior” and Rowe posting videos of her sleeping and making fun of her snoring,” according to NBC.
Brochu said she acted foolishly, but is not a racist, she told the Republican-American in an expected move.
What Brochu and her attorney may fail to realize is that the incident is a damaging reminder that numerous college campuses are void of protected safe spaces for students of color. The empathy for Rowe among Black women and the damage done to her life must be greatly weighed in this case.
Brochu’s court case will continue on December 18.