The lawyer of a white student who called her black roommate “Jamaican Barbie” has said that his client is not a racist despite advocates calling for hate crime charges to be filed against the former University of Hartford student.
Brianna Brochu turned herself into police on Oct. 28 after police began investigating an Instagram post that boasted of defiling her belongings. She said she got rid of her roommate, Chennel “Jazzy” Rowe, by spitting in her coconut oil, putting moldy clam dip in her lotion and smearing a used tampon on her backpack. “I can finally say goodbye Jamaican Barbie,” the post read.
Brochu was later charged with third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree breach of peace.
Her lawyer, Thomas Stevens, told the Hartford Courant that Brochu’s actions were typical of dorm life—the sort of spat that can develop between college roommates. He said he does not expect Brochu to receive hate crime charges for her actions. Among other things, he said, “This was two students who were placed together, I think randomly… who didn’t like each other, like has been happening since kids went to school and became roommates."
The West Hartford Police Department had earlier asked that another charge of intimidation based on bigotry or bias be added to Brochu’s charges. But prosecutors have not made it clear whether Brochu will be slapped with hate crime charges, even as the NAACP and other groups call for those charges to be added. "They’re playing a game," NAACP Connecticut chapter President Scot Esdaile told the Courant. "They’re going back and forth with the hot potato not wanting to make a decision."
The university had banned Brochu from the school campus and condemned her actions after officials discovered her online post. Brochu told police that she was reacting to the hostile environment created by her roommate, including, she alleged, the posting of Snapchat videos of Brochu while she was sleeping.
Stevens told the Courant that university officials were rushed in their decision to ban Brochu and plans on taking the university to court. He told reporters Tuesday that the media was fueling the case.
Most popular: Update On Jared Kushner's Middle East Peace Push
“I think this is sort of not the case that you all have been fanning the flame on,” Stevens said. “I think when it’s all said and done, what you’re gonna see is there was nothing racial that motivated this.
Brochu's roommate, Rowe, went on Facebook after the incident to reveal more pictures posted by Brocho, including putting Rowe’s toothbrush where “the sun doesn’t shine, and so much more.”
Rowe said, “My thing is I keep looking at the paragraph, right, because the paragraph says the stuff she’s done, and at the same time she says she’s done so much more. I don’t know the 'so much more.'”
Since Rowe’s post went viral, supporters have been packing into the courtroom to watch the case against Brochu.
More from Newsweek