Ousted Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s wife Nakia Fenner is a Chicago police commander who once accused the department of discrimination. She’s been embroiled in a series of controversies on the Chicago police force.
Johnson was fired by Mayor Lori Lightfoot for what she called a “series of ethical lapses.” The firing of Chicago’s top cop came after he was discovered asleep in his car. He said he had a couple drinks but blamed a medical issue related to blood pressure medication. Johnson denied the mayor’s accusations, saying, according to NBC, “I did not intentionally mislead or deceive the Mayor or the people of Chicago. I made a poor decision and had a lapse of judgment.” NBC reported that he’s accused of being out to dinner that night with a “female colleague,” and the mayor says he lied to her, but Lightfoot has remained cryptic about the details.
The mayor claimed she wanted to withhold details because “I don’t feel like it is appropriate or fair to Mr. Johnson’s wife or children to do so (release them) at this time.” The Chicago Sun-Times reported through sources that Johnson is seen kissing the woman on video and that she’s someone he promoted to his security detail. According to ABC 7, source said she is Cynthia Donald, “a CPD officer who was a member of Johnson’s security detail, and often served as his driver.”
Here’s what you need to know about Johnson’s wife, Nakia Fenner:
1. Johnson & Fenner Were Married in 2017 During His Recovery From a Kidney Transplant
Johnson married Fenner in September 2017 while he was recovering from a kidney transplant. According to the Chicago Tribune, he was wearing a new wedding ring when he temporarily returned to work to “respond to a damning report about police abuse of overtime.”
The Chicago police spokesman then confirmed to The Chicago Tribune that Johnson and Lt. Nakia Fenner were married on September 30, 2017. The article calls her his “sweetheart” and a “junior officer.”
Johnson had received his new kidney from his son, Daniel Johnson, 30, that August, The Tribune reports. According to Patch, Johnson “battled a potentially life-threatening kidney inflammation” for years.
The Sun-Times reported that the woman allegedly drinking with Johnson told investigators they both “have troubled marriages and that they frequently talk to each other.”
2. A Police Sergeant Once Accused Fenner of Involvement in a Testing Cheating Scheme But She Accused Him of Filing a False Report
Eddie Johnson’s wife has been involved before in controversies on the force. In August 2019, WTTW-TV reported that Chicago police Sgt. James Prah alleged he was “intimidated into silence” by Johnson and his wife because Prah blew the whistle on their “alleged involvement in a purported cheating scheme during a departmental exam.”
He claimed that officers had cheated on a lieutenant’s test in 2015, but the allegations were “never substantiated,” according to WTTW. He had claimed that Fenner was in a study group given testing information before the exam. He later claimed retaliation.
Chicago’s Inspector General Joseph Ferguson looked into it but couldn’t substantiate Prah’s claims and Fenner then accused him of filing a false report in a formal complaint, WTTW reported.
Specifically, The Chicago Tribune reported, Prah alleged that Fenner and another cop’s wife took part in the study group led by a police commander who helped develop the promotional test.
Fenner told DNA Info Chicago that she “did not participate in any study groups.”
Then Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended Johnson, according to DNA Info, calling him a “Chicago success story” who was born in the Cabrini Green housing project.
3. Fenner Has Received Several Awards & Been the Subject of Not Sustained Complaints During Her Time on the Force
According to CDPD, Fenner is a lieutenant assigned to district 9 who was born in 1976. Her career with the Chicago Police Department started in 2002.
The site lists several commendations under her name but also a couple complaints. Awards include presidential election deployment award, physical fitness emblem of recognition, and attendance recognition award.
The site lists the following complaints: off-duty conduct unbecoming an officer (not sustained); domestic (not sustained); conduct unbecoming an officer (not sustained); operation/personnel violations (no affidavit, no action taken); and illegal search (not sustained).
4. Fenner Accused the Chicago Police Department of Discrimination & Was Investigated for Her Handling of a Traffic Ticket Involving Her Son
In 2018, The Associated Press reported that Nakia Fenner had accused the Chicago Police Department of discrimination. She filed the complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but details of it were not released.
According to AP, she alleged “discriminatory practices within the department’s promotional process,” and Johnson handed the investigation off to others.
Her LinkedIn page says her job is to “supervise subordinates to ensure the organizational goals are met and the safety of the community is protected.”
There was more drama.
In 2017, according to DNA Info, Eddie Johnson asked Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to “investigate the handling of a traffic offense involving the son” of Nakia, who was his then fiancee.
5. Fenner, Who Has a Master’s Degree, Used to Work as a Sheriff’s Deputy
According to Fenner’s LinkedIn page, she used to work as a Cook County Sheriff’s deputy from 2000 to 2002. The page also says that she has a master’s degree in public administration from Illinois Institute of Technology. She also has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science.
A public employee salary database says that Fenner earned $155,283 in 2017 as a Lieutenant for City of Chicago Department Of Police.