A police officer, who was at the center of a viral video in 2018 that captured her struggle with a murder suspect who pulled a gun on her, has filed a federal lawsuit after she was fired from the Lakemoor Police Department.
Brianna Tedesco, 31, filed a five-count federal lawsuit on Wednesday against the Village of Lakemoor and Lakemoor Police Chief David Godlewski.
The suit alleges the village and police department committed Americans with Disabilities Act violations and Illinois tort violations by engaging in an “ongoing practice of discrimination and retaliation.”
Tedesco was hired as a police officer in Lakemoor in June 2017 and terminated in August 2019.
Tedesco was on routine patrol around 5 a.m. on July 26, 2018, when she came across an occupied SUV on a narrow gravel road near Four Seasons Boulevard and Sullivan Lake Road.
The man inside the car, Kenneth E. Martell, 36, of Meadville, Pennsylvania, was wanted for murder after he tied, robbed, beat and stabbed to death 88-year-old Theodore Garver in his Beaver Township, Pennsylvania home three days prior.
Tedesco found Martell lying down inside the vehicle. She asked him for identification and he gave her a fake name.
Tedesco then asked Martell for written identification and he pointed a handgun at her head.
A struggle ensued and the two began fighting over the gun. Martell pulled the trigger several times as the struggle continued but the gun did not fire.
Martell then pulled out a second gun.
Lakemoor Police Officer Anthony Loiacono, who was the backup officer to Tedesco, arrived at the scene.
Loiacono fired one shot, which struck Martell in the head, after he saw the man was armed with a handgun in each of his hands.
Martell was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. An autopsy showed that Martell had numerous traces of drugs in his system at the time of his death.
Following a lengthy Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request battle involving the Village of Lakemoor and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the bodycam and dashcam video was released to Lake and McHenry County Scanner and the video went viral.
Editor’s Note: The below video could be considered shocking or disturbing to the viewer. Viewer discretion is advised.
Tedesco was praised for her bravery and honored by police departments and law enforcement groups.
The lawsuit says Tedesco was placed on administrative leave after the shooting and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Tedesco felt pressured to return to work after several other officers encouraged her to return because they were forced to work overtime in her absence, the suit said.
Tedesco was placed on light duty and eventually returned to full duty but was uncomfortable working the night shift because of the shooting.
Fellow officers allegedly told her to “put on her big girl pants” and sometimes failed to respond to her calls for backup, the lawsuit said.
The suit alleges Tedesco was eventually terminated from the department after they did not reasonably accommodate her by allowing her to work with a partner or allow her to work the day shift.
The federal lawsuit is seeking the court to order the village to reinstate Tedesco to her former position and award her damages.