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Fla. Cop Suspended Over Bra Search

Dash-cam footage shows a Lakeland (Fla.) Police officer requiring a woman to twice shake out her bra during a vehicle stop to prove she didn't have drugs. Read the full story here.

June 26, 2013

Comments (17)

Displaying 1 - 17 of 17

Steve @ 6/26/2013 4:25 PM

She must have been an arch-criminal with that broken tail light. Maybe he should have used the taser too. Just in case she was pregnant. Maybe she was a terrorist smuggling WMDs in from the middle east. Common Sense isn't required for officers anymore?

William @ 6/26/2013 7:31 PM

Steve, your attitude is so very typical. You are painting all Police Officers with the same brush by your ignorant comment. Being a Police Officer is a very special career where men and woman put their lives on the line every day and night to Protect Your Sorry Ass! We may have a few bad apples Pal, but most Police Officers run into Shit when people like You run away...... MY TWO CENTS for Mr. Steve!

Longarm9 @ 6/27/2013 12:15 AM

I don't know exactly the laws in Florida, as I work in Canada, but I can say that this video doesn't tell the whole story. At least in Canada, this situation might be considered a legal detention (most likely would be with the stepping out of the car and the shaking out of the bra). Upon detention, an officer may frisk a subject for officer safety. It's preferable that the officer to be doing the frisk be of the same sex as the person being frisked, but not necessary. If the woman was legally detained, (which she may be, we can't tell from this video) then perhaps the officer was wanting to make sure she didn't have any weapons but wasn't comfortable with doing the frisk hands-on. I can tell you that the bra and groin area are the number one places for subjects to stash weapons and contraband because they know that officers are hesitant to search those places thoroughly.

If the woman was detained properly, then this would be unorthodox and perhaps not the best practice for the officer's safety, but legally legit. I mean, it's not like he didn't know he was standing in front of the camera; I suspect that the officer felt this method would be less intrusive and embarrassing for the subject than physically frisking her.

But nobody ever gives cops the benefit of the doubt, I guess.

Lam @ 6/27/2013 2:43 PM

poLice see the polpe in the car at niht Or the nepbr .

Ladylaw2013 @ 6/27/2013 5:07 PM

To Longarm and William....Well said! I was annoyed that no one could think that MAYBE the officer did this so that we could all see that he never touched the citizen and yet still did a solid job to keep himself safe and to avoid any kind of backlash or accusations about him abusing her in some way. It is the fine line we walk every day and I commend this officer for doing an outstanding job at walking the line with a professional and thorough and mindful attitude.

Duke Holtzman @ 6/27/2013 6:42 PM

If the officer had good PC to stop her and good PC she had drugs on her I DO NOT SEE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ACTIONS. At no time did the video show the officer place hands on her nor did she expose her breasts! The supenshion must have come from a DESK BOUND SUPERVISOR WITHOUT STREET EXPERIENCE!! SHAME ON HIM!!!

valerie duekin @ 6/27/2013 8:14 PM

I think this is great!!! If I needed to be searched I would rather it be done like this than to have some strangers hands all over me!!! The officer should be commended to have left this lady with her dignity instead of shame...congrats to the officer for the way he handled this search...

Bob@Az. @ 6/27/2013 8:55 PM

I got to ask: Did anybody understand what "Lam" posted? I've been over it a few times and can't figure it out. Maybe if I had some more KoolAid............

Ron @ 6/27/2013 9:56 PM

'Good PC'? Unless there's something in plain sight there should be no PC. Just preponderance of actually no evidence. Don't you think that 'PC' was examined? He probably didn't have Sh!£, as always.

Longarm9 @ 6/28/2013 1:00 AM

Ron, do you even know what "PC" stands for or how to achieve it? Do you have any legal training whatsoever? I didn't think so.

Something in plain sight is not the "only way" to achieve probable cause. In fact I would say it's probably the least frequent one. There is zero context for this video, so you have absolutely no clue what evidence there was or wasn't.

Maybe you should at least have the first clue about what you're talking about before you go running your mouth.

Scott @ 6/28/2013 1:37 AM

This is a common practice for me. Any good street cop knows one of the most common places a female hides contraband is in the bra. It looks like this Officer did a good job all around. Very smart to keep her in front of the camera.

There isn't any sound so all this talk of PC is pointless. For all we know it's consensual and she could've said no. If you disagree with this practice..... Target or Walmart are always hiring.

Tony @ 6/28/2013 7:32 AM

The officers actions appear to be ill-advised. As a 43 year police officer (now Chief) I always asked myself "What am I stopping the person for"or "What is the reason (probable cause) for the stop?" In this officers case it was a tail-light. Absent any other reason such as the smell or alcohol, the smell of burnt marijuana or the appearance of glassy eye's associated with illegal substance abuse, then the officer should have written the ticket for the equipment malfunction and permitted the person to leave. If PROBABLE CAUSE EXIST of the officer has REASON TO BELIEVE the driver committed another crime, an on-scene safety pat-down would have been appropriate. Once the pat-down was completed, the next step is to make the suspect safe by securing them with handcuffs before transporting them to a proper location (city or county jail) where a more thorough search could take place. This was a learning experience for this officer.

Mike @ 6/28/2013 12:11 PM

It's amazing how ignorant so many street cops are in regards to their job. I'm never amazed at how ignorant administrators are. I got news for you...we DON'T NEED probable cause to stop a vehicle or detain someone. All we actually need to detain somebody is a lesser standard sometimes termed reasonable suspicion. In this case a broken tail light would be well defined as probable cause for a detention.
The article states “Fetz can be seen telling Brugger to empty her pockets and then lift her shirt and shake out her bra twice”. Really? The video has no audio and the article has no official statement indicating he ordered her to do so. In fact, if you read the article, Fetz never said she was ordered to do so. In fact the title of the video is “Police ASK Woman to Shake out her Bra…”.
Based on my experience and the fact that the female was searching her own pockets, I'd put my money on the likelihood he actually ASKED her to pull out her bra. However, since I don't know all the facts, I can't make a judgment.
The question that should be asked: was the length of the detention beyond the scope of the stop? But once again, since we have no audio or additional information we can’t make an accurate judgment either.
…I don’t know why I keep posting to these things. Based on some of the prior responses, the utter ignorance of many of you is impenetrable.

Longarm9 @ 6/28/2013 9:39 PM

With all due respect, Chief Tony, you don't know what probable cause was or was not present as the video has no audio track and begins with the subject exiting the vehicle. You have no idea what the officer could hear see or smell at the time. For all you know, every probable cause you mentioned was present.

The only point I'll give you is that perhaps a hands-on frisk would have been more appropriate, but I think if the PC grounds existed, then the officer ought to be given the benefit of the doubt that he was trying to be as un-intrusive as possible given that a female officer wasn't (presumably) available for the frisk.

The fact he was suspended means nothing; there's plenty of spineless idiots in high places in the law enforcement world.

Capt. Crunch @ 6/29/2013 10:19 AM

Both officers should be retrained.

Robert Hillsman @ 6/30/2013 5:26 AM

Don't have audio, might have helped officer. HOWEVER if u watch the limited part of the video posted here she is smiling and at one pont even laughed out loud. We don't have the full story, but doing it in front of the dashcam is helpful. Two officers there + video that really shows no improper behavior. Certainly he could have explained the reason for the bra-lift as many civillians have never even heard of the newer bras made for ccw purposes. Re. improper family info being posted in this NSA era why wouldn't the States's Atty. have them trace the posting of such info? That would be a better use of him and his offices resources. Chief- you're kidding correct. Also can site administrator do anything to find out if non-LEO have access inappropriately? Officer should get union rep/atty to look into discipline, at least based on what is shown on the 3" video posted.

mongo @ 7/1/2013 10:35 AM

i have to agree with Tony. IF there were drugs in her bra, they would not be a threat if she were to be handcuffed, taken to a secure and controlled enviroment at the police department and searched. An even better option would be to call for a female officer or have a female dispatcher or officer perform the search at the police department.

The point being is to Cover Your Ass from all this bullshit.

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