Report: Woman forced to lift her bra during Lakeland traffic stop

5:52 PM, Jun 20, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Report: Woman forced to lift her bra during traffic stop

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Lakeland, Florida -- Dashcam video of a traffic stop in Lakeland on the night of May 21 highlights a situation the State Attorney's Office calls "demeaning... and possibly dangerous." The video shows a visibly upset woman named Zoe Brugger lifting up her shirt and shaking out her bra in front of Lakeland Police Officer Dustin Fetz.

According to a detailed report about the case from the State Attorney's Office, it was part of Fetz's efforts to find drugs on Brugger and her boyfriend, Larry Fields.

"It's just wrong," State Attorney Jerry Hill told reporters on Thursday. "There was no reason to believe that drugs were involved in this stop at all."

Related: Officials question Lakeland bra shaking police search

Fetz initiated the traffic stop because a headlight was out on the car Brugger was driving. Later, he found that Brugger was on the road without a valid driver's license, but didn't arrest her. Instead, according to the report, Fetz said he was focused on the possibility that they had drugs on them based on Fields' "irregular movements".

He asked for permission to search Brugger, which he told officials with the State Attorney's Office that he does during all traffic stops. Brugger declined, but told investigators that Fetz was persistent. Then, she says, Fetz had her turn her pants pockets inside out and "pull her shirt up, lift her bra... and shake."

Brugger obeyed, she told the State Attorney's Office, because she felt scared and wanted to go home to her newborn. She also claimed Fetz searched her vehicle despite her repeatedly telling him she wouldn't allow it. 

To Hill, that's a symptom of a disconnect in training at the Lakeland Police Department.

"This young officer has been with the department, as I understand it, for five years. The last time this officer had any education in search and seizure was five years ago when they were at the academy," he said. "There's something wrong with that picture."

The dashcam video taken that night included video, but no audio. Fetz testified that he had recently been transferred from the Street Crimes Unit and wasn't used to working with recording equipment in that capacity.

WATCH: Police dash cam video of the incident

On Thursday, Lakeland Police Department Captain John Thomason wouldn't take reporters' questions on-camera about the incident, but released a statement.

"An internal affairs investigation was initiated. Chief [Lisa] Womack takes these issues very seriously and the department will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations," he said.

READ Chief Womack's full statement here

The story gets even more shocking. Officer Fetz apparently told Brugger she was going to jail, where an X-ray machine would be able to see drugs kept inside of her private areas. According to the report, he told investigators it was a last ditch effort to find drugs.

Fetz was suspended for four days with pay. The report highlights that during an interview with the officer, he characterized his behavior as "overzealous" and said he learned from the incident.

A letter that Hill wrote to the Lakeland Police Department warns Police Chief Lisa Womack that what happened during the traffic stop should "alarm" her, along with everyone who lives in Lakeland.

"I think that the Lakeland leadership needs to take a real hard look at what they're providing for the citizens," Hill said.

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