POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A Lakeland Police Department officer is accused of ordering a woman during a traffic stop to lift her shirt, exposing her stomach, and then telling her to pull her bra away from her body and shake it, according to authorities.
Police Department said officers have used this method to search for drugs before, but the State Attorney's Office wrote a letter to Lakeland Police Chief Lisa Womack detailing the investigation in response to a citizen's letter to The Lakeland Ledger describing the incident.
The letter stated that Zoe Brugger was pulled over for a front headlight being out, and she was asked to step out of the car. The officers searched the car, Brugger and her passenger, Larry
Fields, the letter states.
Brugger was in tears as she followed the officer's orders. The event was caught on the cruiser's dashboard camera.
"It was really, really humiliating," Brugger told Channel 9.
"He said to pull out your bra and just shake it a little bit," said Brugger.
Brugger said the officer then asked her to do it again.
"He said he was sure that I had drugs," she said.
Brugger said the incident happened in a parking lot of an apartment complex about 11 p.m. She said it happened within plain view of the public eye and that anyone could have witnessed it.
The State Attorney's Office said Officer Dustin Fetz had no reason to suspect the presence of drugs on Brugger.
Officials said that while Fetz's actions did not rise to the level of criminal misconduct, they raised "most serious concerns."
The State Attorney's Office called the search method "demeaning, ineffective and possibly dangerous."
Officials said the method of search is not taught at the law enforcement training academy at Polk State College.
However, they said that Fetz's conduct in the case is not an isolated incident and appears to be an accepted practice.
"I really hope that nothing like this happens to any other women out there," said Brugger.
The Lakeland Police Department is investigating the incident. It will also review the department's search procedures and decide if changes should be made.
Fetz was placed on a four-day administrative leave, but he has since been placed back on duty.
Brugger said she's not sure if she will pursue legal action against the department.
Officials said no drugs or weapons were found during the search.