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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Lakeland officer suspended for one day after bra search incident

A Lakeland police officer received a one-day suspension for an incident in which he told a woman to shake out her bra for drugs, an act that received national attention.

Police Chief Lisa Womack also ordered Officer Dustin Fetz to complete re-training in arrest, search and seizure laws/procedures and an in depth research project.

The announcement follows an administrative investigation of the May 21 traffic stop of Zoe Brugger. The vehicle she and her boyfriend Larry Fields were in was stopped by Fetz because it had only one functioning headlight, according to the investigation

Fetz searched the vehicle and its occupants, and while searching Brugger, he asked her to pull her bra forward with two fingers to release any possible weapons or contraband concealed in the bra, the investigation found. After she did this once, he asked her to do it again.

The search of Brugger, Fields and the vehicle turned up no contraband, and Brugger was issued a citation for not having a valid driver’s license.

The incident came to light in a letter published June 2 by The Lakeland Ledger, and Womack ordered an investigation the following day. Police received a formal complaint from Brugger on June 5.

The department investigation concluded Fetz did not follow policies involving the search of the vehicle and using a microphone during the incident, but did not violate policies involving strip searches or the code of conduct.

According to a report by State Attorney Investigator Mike Brown, Fetz’s action violated Brugger’s constitutional rights, but his conduct did not constitute a criminal offense.

“Looking back on the incident, (Fetz) recognizes he was overzealous,” the investigator wrote.

Womack forwarded the results of investigations by the department and the State Attorney’s Office to the FBI, which concluded no civil rights violations had occurred.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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