No one disputes that Dylan Bouscher, editor in chief of FAU's student newspaper, University Press, approached the scene of an August 24 suicide on the school's Boca Raton campus. There are two versions of what he did there.
Police say he "showed a total lack of respect for FAU PD and did interfere with the police investigation." Bouscher told New Times he only asked some questions and complied with all lawful orders from campus police. On September 26, the school imposed sanctions on Bouscher.
The FAU police account of the incident states that officers
informed [Bouscher] that he was inside an active crime scene and ordered him to leave and that [Bouscher] did not comply with my orders and would not leave, as he was trying to take pictures and ask questions. I again informed Bouscher that this was an active investigation, and I informed him that I could not answer any questions, and ordered to leave or he would be subject to an arrest for Trespass after Warning and Obstruction of Justice by interfering with an investigation. After trying to ask addition questions Bouscher did finally leave the area only to return, this time on the El Rio Trail where he had a run-in with Detective Vickens. The actions of Dylan Bouscher showed a total lack of respect for FAU PD and did interfere with the police investigation.
Bouscher told New Times he merely passed street marker cones several hundred feet from the area marked off by crime scene tape, complied with police orders to approach no further, and "did not interfere with their work."
In an email, Bouscher disputed the police report of his interactions with officers Richard Friedman and Robert Vickens:
I was not threatened with any charges, by either Friedman or Vickens. Friedman told me to take the cart back, I did so. Vickens told me to leave the El Rio trail, a public walkway with no cones or caution tape and with at least three other Boca residents walking much closer to the scene, and I did so after asking if an emergency alert would be issued to students twice. Rather than threaten me with charges, Vickens simply yelled my name twice and told me to leave.
Bouscher is quite familiar with FAU campus police, having overseen his paper's ten-months-long investigation of the force that resulted in a September 17 issue headlined "Campus Insecurity." The paper criticized the force for lack of transparency. Asked if he felt the sanctions were a form of retaliation, Bouscher told New Times that "it's a fair assumption."
Faced with four charges initially, Bouscher told us he reluctantly decided not to fight the matter when they were whittled down to two. "It was a credibility contest, and I was concerned for the future of the paper," he said. "That wasn't the hill I wanted to die on."
Bouscher's punishment consists of a year's probation, 24 hours of community service, and a mandatory "ethics in decision-making" course, for which he must pay $100. He was left free to continue to serve as editor of the paper.
FAU administration has failed to respond to New Times' request for comment on the matter.
Fire Ant -- an invasive species, tinged bright red, with an annoying, sometimes-fatal sting -- covers Palm Beach County. Got feedback or a tip? Contact Fire.Ant@BrowardPalmBeach.com.
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