Chennel Rowe and Brianna Brochu

Lawyer Doesn’t Expect Hate Crime Charges in Roommate Case

He claims racism didn't motivate Briana Brochu to systematically poision her former roommate.

by Zahara Hill, November 21, 2017

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Chennel Rowe and Brianna Brochu

Jazzy Rowe/Facebook; Hartford Courant

University of Hartford student Brianna Brochu is facing criminal mischief and breach of peace charges after reportedly contaminating her Black roommate’s personal hygiene products throughout the start of the fall semester.

The 18-year-old, who referred to her former roommate, Hartford freshman Chennel Rowe, as “Jamaican Barbie,” detailed her malicious deeds in an Instagram post.



“After one and a half months 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 to Jamaican Barbie,” Brochu wrote in an Oct. 17 Instagram post that has since been deleted.

The story drew widespread attention and indignation after Rowe shared her harrowing experiences in an Oct. 30 Facebook video. The original video received over a million views. On Tuesday, Brochu’s attorney, Tom Stevens, not only claimed his client wasn’t racist, he also said he doesn’t anticipate she’ll be charged with a hate crime.

“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,” Stevens told the Republican-American newspaper. “These were two students who were placed together … who didn’t like each other … and it escalated.”

But if the Connecticut chapter of the NAACP has anything to do with it, Brochu won’t be able to curb a hate crime charge so easily. The group has been following the case since it made headlines in November.

Chapter members gathered outside of the courthouse where Brochu’s hearing was held Tuesday and insisted prosecutors charge the woman with a hate crime.





 
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