Officials question Lakeland bra-shaking police search - WFLA News Channel 8

ADVERTISEMENT
Bookmark and Share

Officials question Lakeland bra-shaking police search

Posted: Updated:
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

An investigative report from the State Attorney calls the actions of a Lakeland Police officer during a traffic stop "egregious" and "demeaning."

The report from State Attorney Jerry Hill details what happened to driver Zoe Brugger on May 21. Lakeland Police officer Dustin Fetz initially stopped Brugger and her boyfriend, Larry Fields, saying the Toyota they were in had a headlight out.

The investigation revealed that Officer Fetz suspected Brugger might have been carrying drugs, so he asked her to "pull her shirt up, pull her bra out from her breasts, and to shake."

"[He] made me go through the whole humiliating ordeal with shaking my bra out right there in the middle of this parking lot on Beacon Road," Brugger said. "He told me that he was taking me to Bartow Jail for driving on a suspended license and that they had an x-ray machine there and they were definitely going to find what I had hidden inside me there."

The officer never found any drugs.

The report, filed by Investigator Mike Brown says "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."

He goes on to say that, while the officer's actions did not rise to the level of criminal misconduct, they raise serious concerns.

"Even more alarming, the officer's conduct in this case is not an isolated incident, but appears to be accepted practice," Hill writes. "Two law enforcement officers indicated that the technique employed … is a common practice used among officers employed by the Lakeland Police Department."

Brugger says Officer Fetz did not have consent or reasonable cause to search the vehicle she was driving, but did so anyway.

What did he say about the incident?

"He couldn't recall ever being formally trained on this technique at the police academy or through the LPD," the state attorney report states. "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," read a written statement from LPD. "Chief Womack takes these matters very seriously and the department will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegation."

It goes on to say they cannot discuss any information about an open, active administrative investigation because of Florida Statutes outlining the police officer bill of rights.

The department is also under fire for its DUI procedures.

Watch News Channel 8 at 5, 6, 7 and 11 for the latest details.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:50:00 GMT
    WFLA file photo.WFLA file photo.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:49:45 GMT
    Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota. Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
  • Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:00:01 GMT
    The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
  • Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Pool parasite invades Pinellas County

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:19:12 GMT
    Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool. Health officials say the parasite that causes 'Crypto' could be in your pool.
    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks.

    Health Department officials in Pinellas County are putting out a warning about a parasite that can lurk in swimming pools and water parks. And, if it invades your body, you're in for a rough ride - it's called Cryptosporidium.


  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • 8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    8 ways to save on groceries without coupons

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:07 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:07:49 GMT
    Wikimedia Commons photo by Eja2kWikimedia Commons photo by Eja2k
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
    ShopSmart magazine sent undercover shoppers through grocery store aisles and discovered plenty of ways to lower your grocery bill.
  • Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Couple's selfie photobombed by lightning bolt

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:56 AM EDT2014-07-29 15:56:28 GMT
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
    A couple vacationing in Mexico was almost hit by lightning, a few sources including Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.