A Florida woman named Zoe Brugger experienced a “bra shake drug search” in Lakeland in May, and now a police officer has been suspended after the humiliating incident was exposed.
Zoe Brugger and boyfriend Larry Fields were detained at a traffic stop by Lakeland Police officer Dustin Fetz on May 21 after Fetz spotted a broken taillight on the vehicle driven by Fields.
But during the traffic stop, the bra shaking search methods ordered by Fetz, not once but twice, left Brugger feeling victimized and have since become a controversy for the department.
Weeks after the bra shake drug search incident, Brugger spoke out following a letter to the editor of a local paper describing the incident.
Brugger says that despite shaking her bra twice for Fetz, the Lakeland officer continued to threaten her with allegations of hidden drugs, and searched the pair’s vehicle without permission.
No drugs were found in Brugger’s bra, nor were any located inside the vehicle.
Brugger says of the bra shake drug search:
“[Officer Fetz] made me go through the whole humiliating ordeal with shaking my bra out right there in the middle of this parking lot… 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.”
Lakeland police have responded to the bra shake search controversy by suspending Fetz with pay and releasing a statement about the incident, reading:
“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. Chief [Lisa] Womack takes these matters very seriously and the department will conduct a thorough investigation into the allegation.”
“[Officer Fetz] 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.”
After Zoe Brugger’s bra shake search allegations were made public, two other officers indicated that bra shaking was not an uncommon demand made of females being questioned.