Ousted University of Hartford Student Brianna Brochu Escapes Hate Crime Charges, Now Wants Clean Record

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Brianna Brochu
Brianna Brochu, the former University of Hartford student accused of smearing body fluids on her roommate’s belongings, makes a brief appearance in Hartford Superior court on Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, with her attorney Tom Stevens. (Photo by Patrick Raycraft/Hartford Courant, Pool via AP)

Prosecutors announced Tuesday there isn’t sufficient evidence to bring hate crime charges against former University of Hartford student Brianna Brochu, who is accused of harassing her Black roommate by smearing bodily fluids on her backpack, among other things.

Now, Brochu is looking for a fresh start. The Hartford Courant reported that the 18-year-old has applied for a special form of probation that could allow her to avoid a criminal record altogether. Under the terms of what’s called “accelerated rehabilitation,” the charges against Brochu could be dropped after a period of probation so long as she sticks to the conditions set by the court.

A hearing to review her application for AR is scheduled for March 12, according to the newspaper.

Brochu was expelled from the Hartford university last fall after details of her alleged assault against her roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, were exposed. She later admitted to authorities that she lashed out at Rowe, as the two didn’t get along. She revealed she’d licked her roommates’ plates and silverware, rubbed blood from a used tampon on her book bag and mixed lotion with other things from Rowe’s desk.

After careful review reports provided by West Hartford Police and University of Hartford Safety Officers, city State’s Attorney Gail P. Hardy said there was no evidence to support bringing a hate crime charge against Brochu.

“We don’t have evidence to support that the conduct that Brianna Brochu engaged in was committed to intimidate or harass Miss Rowe because of her perceived race or ethnicity,” Hardy told the Associated Press.

The Hartford police charged the ousted student with breach of peace and criminal mischief, which Brochu has pleaded not guilty to, according to the newspaper.

Hardy’s refusal to bring hate crime charges against Brochu, didn’t sit well with many in the Black community, however. Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut chapter of the NAACP, expressed disappointment at the prosecutor’s decision but said he plans to ask the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican caucus to hold a hearing on the matter.

“The (state’s attorney’s) office has to be accountable to the people,” Esdaile said.

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