Chicago Police Superintendent's Wife Sues Department For Discrimination
Chicago, IL – The wife of Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has filed a complaint alleging she was passed over for a promotion because she was the victim of discrimination, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Chicago Police Lieutenant Nakia Fenner filed her lawsuit in May with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Chicago Police Department, and theoretically her husband, since he has final signoff on all promotions.
Details of her case were not available because the EEOC does not disclose details of employment discrimination prior to issuing its determination on the case, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Normally, such allegations would be investigated by the police department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs; however, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Superintendent Johnson had referred his wife’s case to the city’s Office of Inspector General and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to avoid any possible conflict of interest, or appearance of impropriety.
“Late last week, CPD received an EEOC complaint from Lt. Nakia Fenner alleging discriminatory practices within CPDs promotional process. The department is committed to ensure they are evaluated and investigated independently and fairly,” Chicago PD Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement on Thursday.
Superintendent Johnson was recovering from a kidney transplant when the couple exchanged vows, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Lt. Fenner was already at the center of the massive controversy at the police department before she married then-interim Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Sept. 30, 2017.
Lt. Fenner was accused of cheating on the lieutenant’s promotion exam in 2015, along with two other partners of police officials.
The cheating allegations surfaced right after Superintendent Johnson was chosen to lead the police department by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson investigated, at the request of Superintendent Johnson, allegations that the women had been given the test in advance and been coached so they would score better.
Ferguson announced he’d found no proof to support the complaints in June of 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported.
But before Lt. Fenner was cleared of wrongdoing on her promotion exam, she’d already been accused of intervening on a traffic stop on behalf of her son, DNAinfo reported.
The complainant alleged the lieutenant acted inappropriately after her son was stopped for a traffic offense. The current status of that investigation was unclear, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The inspector general’s ruling on the cheating case cleared Lt. Fenner, who was engaged to the interim superintendent at the time, Lieutenant Maryet Hall, who was the wife of then-First Deputy Superintendent Al Wysinger, and Lieutenant Davina Ward, who was dating another department official.
But on Jan. 9, the ugly accusations were raised again when Chicago Police Sergeant Hosea Word filed a federal lawsuit against the women’s spouses and the police department alleging the women were fed test answers in advance, according to Courthouse News Service.
In his lawsuit, Sgt. Word complained that he had been passed over for a promotion to lieutenant because of the women cheating on the exam. His cases is pending.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) also weighed in on the wives’ and girlfriends’ cheating scandal in their scathing report about the Chicago police.
In their report, DoJ singled out concerns about the promotion exams, the Chicago Tribune reported.
DoJ noted that the promotion exams have garnered numerous discrimination lawsuits over the years, and mentioned the inspector general’s investigation into the cheating scandal.