Lakemoor police officer claims she was fired over her PTSD after being hailed as hero

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Thursday, October 20, 2022
Lakemoor police officer hailed as hero claims she was fired over PTSD
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The Lakemoor Police Department honored Officer Brianna Tedesco as a hero in 2019, but then a year later, they fired her. Now she's suing to try to get her job back.

LAKEMOOR, Ill. (WLS) -- An officer who witnessed the shooting death of a suspect is suing the village that employed her, claiming she was fired because of her PTSD.

Brianna Tedesco grew up wanting to be a police officer. She worked for the small department in north suburban Lakemoor for about two years.

The department honored her as a hero in 2019, but then a year later, they fired her. Now she's suing to try to get her job back.

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On July 26, 2018, Officer Tedesco was checking out a suspicious car parked in a golf course driveway. Police say the driver in the car gave Officer Tedesco a fake ID.

Within seconds, the officer struggles with the suspect until her partner arrives on the scene.

As police say the suspect reached for a second gun in the car, her partner fired his weapon, killing the suspect.

Officer Tedesco said she later learned the man in the car was Kenneth Martell, who was wanted for murder in Pennsylvania.

READ MORE | On the lam: Pennsylvania murder suspect killed in Lake County, Illinois

In the aftermath, the small town of Lakemoor honored Officer Tedesco as a hero. But at the same time, she said she was seeing a therapist and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder from the incident.

"I began to feel everywhere I went there was someone waiting to kill me, essentially," Tedesco said.

She got a pile of letters and thank you notes from people in the community, but it wore on her. At her therapist's recommendation, the department put Tedesco on light duty. Less than a year later, Tedesco found herself out of a job.

"The village propped her up as the greatest example of a police officer and what a wonderful act of bravery one of their employees did," said her attorney, Dan Herbert. "Then a year later, they fire her. It was all lip service."

According to the complaint, "the Village [of Lakemoor] previously told the EEOC that Plaintiff was terminated because 'she could no longer perform the essential function of the patrol officer position.'"

Tedesco is married to a fellow officer and comes from a law enforcement family. She said she was living her dream until the department let her go.

She has filed suit against the village and the police chief alleging they fired her for having PTSD, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"My dream was cut short," Tedesco said. "It was devastating to have been fired."

Lakemoor Village Administrator Todd Weihofen said he's aware of the lawsuit, but cannot comment on pending litigation.

In a previous filing, however, the village argued Tedesco is not considered disabled and should not be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.