South Florida Sun Sentinel | By Austen Erblat | August 26, 2021
The anti-mask protester arrested after shoving a female student at Fort Lauderdale High School had his charge downgraded Thursday.
The Fort Lauderdale Police Department said they filed the wrong charge of aggravated child abuse, a first-degree felony, changing it to child abuse without great bodily harm, a third-degree felony. A department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to questions about why the charge changed or who determined the initial charge was wrong.
Dan Bauman, an anti-mask protester with a history of confrontations, shoved the masked student Wednesday after she tried to take his phone while he shot video of her. Videos of the incident were later posted to social media. The 50-year-old Fort Lauderdale man was immediately arrested.
Bauman was taken to the Broward County Jail, where he remains Thursday, records show. He is still awaiting a bond hearing.
Bauman’s daughter filed a document with the court Thursday defending her father.
“At no time did my father harm, intend to harm, or try to harm the female student who stole my father’s phone from his hands,” she wrote. “At no time did my father use any physical force against the female student who unlawfully snatched my fathers’ phone while he was videotaping my personal encounter with school officials on a private and personal matter on my behalf.”
Bauman has had other run-ins with the law, often involving COVID masks. He has received trespass warnings at least five times in the past year and half for flouting mask rules, police records show.
In 2018, the owner of a Fort Lauderdale dance studio filed a protection order against Bauman for stalking, court records show. The owner told police that Bauman had threatened him, his wife and their kids.
In August 2020, police were called to a Home Depot in Fort Lauderdale over reports of an aggressive customer wearing pink thong underwear on his face as a mask. Security guards told him he needed to wear a proper mask and offered him one, but he declined, saying he could wear what he wanted, according to a police report.
He left but returned to argue with security guards while making videos on his phone.
The next month, he went to the Fort Lauderdale police station twice in two weeks and was refused entry for refusing to wear a mask. He once went to his car and returned wearing pink underwear on his face. An officer said that was fine, but he needed to take Bauman’s temperature. He refused and left, police said.
Bauman was warned about trespassing at a Publix in Fort Lauderdale a month after that when he tried to enter without a mask.
Bauman said he had medical issues that prevented him from wearing a mask. He claimed Publix employees grabbed him, but security footage from inside the store showed that no employee ever touched him.
Managers at a post office and UPS store said he came into their locations multiple times, causing disturbances while either maskless or wearing underwear on his head, according to police reports.
In December 2020, Bauman was maskless in a pharmacy when two younger women asked him to put a mask on for everyone’s safety. He became defensive and argumentative, called one of them a monkey and punched one of them in the face, according to a police report.
The two women responded by hitting him and throwing a chair at him.
Cory Strolla, a West Palm Beach attorney representing Bauman in this latest case, said his client is innocent and that the student he pushed was the aggressor:
“The resource officers and security guards were clearly standing and watching, as we have on video, some random student interject herself into a situation that did not concern her and forcibly and unlawfully steal my client’s cellphone while he was discussing his daughter with the school officials,” Strolla said in an email.
“Furthermore, my client used all legal and reasonable measures to obtain his personal private property from being unlawfully kept from him,” Strolla said. “In fact, no school official tried to aid in the recovery of his stolen property, they were just concerned about forcibly restraining my client.”