Your rights during a traffic stop

Driver says Lakeland Officer made her shake bra

LAKELAND, Fla. - "It was just really humiliating," said Zoe Brugger.

Brugger calls a recent traffic stop degrading. She says a Lakeland Police Officer asked her to lift her shirt over her stomach, flip out her underwire bra-- not once but twice and then shake it because he was intent on finding drugs. The incident is caught on the officer's dash cam video from inside his cruiser.

"She has potential civil rights violations. It could have been a little bit more egregious but the fact that she was asked to expose herself on a public highway like that to some extent violated her rights," said attorney Bryant Camareno.

Camereno, who is not involved with this case, says in more than 20 years practicing law, he's never seen anything like it.

"I've yet to hear of a male officer ask a female suspect do anything like that," he said.

The State Attorney says the officer had no right to search Zoe or the car.  He pulled her over for a broken headlight, and never found any drugs.

We sought out advice of what to do if something similar happens to you.

"I would tell them to clearly state to the officer that they were going to comply with his request, but I would tell them to ask for a female officer to come to the scene, and/or their supervisor," said Ron Spiller, SRI Investigations.

Spiller is a retired 31-year veteran of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

"An officer can ask anyone, at any time, to search anything and the person certainly has a right to say no.  And if the officer doesn't have probable cause, then it should stop at that point," he explained.

Spiller also says an officer can only pat you down for his or her safety, for instance, if there's suspicion of a weapon.

"They were clearly looking for drugs," he said.

Camareno agrees the best course is to ask for a supervisor or a female officer and make it clear you want to cooperate.

"You could say I'm not going to do that but you run the risk of being arrested for obstructing an officer without violence, and that is a misdemeanor offense," he said.

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