Chicago, IL – Most of Chicago was mourning the line-of-duty deaths of two police officers on Monday night when one Northside community leader took to Twitter to disparage the fallen officers.
“Two people too stupid to avoid getting hit by a train were given firearms & the authority to kill people by Chicago Police Department,” Northside Democracy for America (NDFA) steering committee member and organizer Carl Nyberg tweeted late on Dec. 17.
Chicago Police Officers Conrad Gary and Eduardo Marmolejo were killed by a train while searching for an armed suspect on foot in the area of Dauphin Avenue and 103rd Street.
Bodycam footage showed that the officers were struck from behind, and never saw the train barreling towards them, according to the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
CPD Spokesman Tom Ahern said the officers were facing a northbound train that was traveling in their direction on a neighboring track as they walked along the railway in search of a gunman.
They did not see the southbound train barreling towards them from behind, and the noise from the train they were watching likely drowned out the sound of the train heading towards their backs, Ahern added.
The conductor said he tried to stop the southbound train – which was traveling between 60 and 70 miles per hour – but it was too late.
Officer Gary and Officer Marmolejo were killed instantly.
Chicago’s 15th Ward alderman, Raymond Lopez, saw Nyberg’s offensive and cruel tweet and responded.
“I thought it had to be called out immediately, and that he should be held accountable for his words,” Lopez explained.
The alderman told Blue Lives Matter he had an immediate, strong reaction to the so-called community leader’s tweet.
“The Chicago police department has had four officers die in the line of duty this year,” he said. “For this individual to make these comments is not only outrageous and completely insensitive to the family left behind, but it speaks volumes about the mindset people have about the value of the lives of our city’s first responders.”
During a back-and-forth exchange between Nyberg and Lopez, the NDFA organizer continued to repeatedly disparage the police department rather than offer condolences.
NDFA describes itself on its official Facebook page as a political organization whose mission is “to elect socially progressive, fiscally responsible and ethically committed Democrats to all levels of government,” and is a very visible and vocal entity in the community.
“Anyone who claims to be a leader, whether it’s elected or a neighborhood group, should be held accountable,” Lopez told Blue Lives Matter. “They’re mocking the deaths of two officers who were trying to chase down an armed subject… calling them stupid for getting themselves killed. That’s hurtful.”
The tweet was deleted shortly after Blue Lives Matter reached out to the NDFA for comment.
Lopez said he will call for Nyberg’s removal from the community organization’s board, and that he will call on all other elected officials who support that group to do the same.
Blue Lives Matter reached out to the national Democracy for America organization for comment and received a quick and vehement reply from DFA Communications Director Neil Sroka.
“We were unaware of this tweet prior to this afternoon, but we have since responded to the tweets directed towards us with the following from DFA's organizational twitter account: While we frequently work closely with @Northside_DFA, @DFAaction is a separate organization & @CarlNyberg312 has no role in the leadership of @DFAaction. Any org repercussions are up to Northside, but we are disgusted by @CarlNyberg31's tweet & urge him to delete it & apologize,” DFA tweeted.
But the local NDFA organization, of which Nyberg is a board member, wasn’t so quick to condemn the very visible and outspoken member of their leadership team.
Blue Lives Matter reached out to NDFA for comment and was directed to a response they posted on their Facebook page.
“Last night, a Northside Democracy for America (NDFA) Steering Committee member made a post on his personal Twitter feed regarding the tragic deaths of two Chicago Police officers. NDFA wishes to make clear that the views expressed by that Committee member are his and his alone. His views do not represent the views of Northside Democracy for America or any of its members,” the organization posted. “NDFA grieves with all of Chicago for the deaths of Chicago police officers. NDFA has no further comment.”
NDFA did not respond to follow up questions by Blue Lives Matter inquiring as to whether Nyberg would remain a senior member of their organization.
Blue Lives Matter also reached out to Nyberg for comment via Twitter and Facebook but has not yet received a response.
Nyberg’s LinkedIn profile identifies him as an “independent media production professional.”
He is a U.S. Navy veteran who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1989, according to his profile.