A Flordia police officer is under investigation after he ordered a woman during a traffic stop to lift her shirt and shake her bra, not once but twice.
Lakeland police officer Dustin Fetz pulled over Florida woman Zoe Brugger and her boyfriend on May 21 for driving with a broken headlight. Fetz reportedly told her to lift up her shirt, pull her bra away from her body and shake it out so he could see if she was hiding any drugs.
“He told me that I looked way too nervous to not have any drugs on me, but I told him that I was just trying to get home to my 2-week-old son,” Brugger told CNN.
After having obeyed the order once already, Fetz then ordered Brugger to perform the bra shake again. He then asked permission to search her car. Brugger agreed but changed her answer to "no" before he started, but Fetz searched the vehicle anyway. No drugs were found on her, on her boyfriend or in her car.
An investigative report from the state attorney calls the actions of the Lakeland Police officer during the traffic stop "egregious" and "demeaning."
According to a report obtained by local Florida news station WFLA, investigator Mike Brown said the "the actions of Officers Fetz were egregious and went beyond the police actions that are permissible under the law." He also added "his actions violated the constitutional rights afforded to Zoe Brugger."
State Attorney Jerry Hill followed up the investigation by writing a letter to Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack. "The conclusions of this report should be alarming to you as chief and to Lakeland citizens," Hill wrote. "Clearly, there is a serious lack of training and supervision in the area of traffic stops."
According to WFLA, Fetz said in the report that "he couldn't recall ever being formally trained on this technique at the police academy or through the LPD. It is a practice that he believed other officers use as well but one that he has utilized to find drugs on individuals in the past. He also did not think it was approved in LPD policies."
The state attorney turned over the information in the report to the Lakeland Police Department for internal review action.
"After the Lakeland Police Department became aware of the allegations against Officer Fetz, and prior to receiving a complaint from the victim, an internal investigation was initiated," Lakeland PD said in a statement. "Chief Womack takes these matters very seriously, and the department will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegation."
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.