Volunteer dropped from 2 local aldermanic campaigns after remarks about fallen officers
by BRIAN NADIG
A man who made disparaging remarks on Twitter about two Chicago police officers who were fatally struck by a train on Dec. 17 will no longer be allowed to volunteer for two local aldermanic campaigns.
The campaigns of 45th Ward Alderman John Arena, who is seeking re-election, and 39th Ward aldermanic candidate Robert Murphy, who is the ward’s Democratic committeeman, have said that Carl Nyberg will no longer volunteer for their campaigns. In addition, Northside Democracy for America has announced that Nyberg is no longer a member of the group’s steering committee as of Dec. 18.
After the officers were killed, Carl Nyberg tweeted the following: "Two people too stupid to avoid getting hit by a train were given firearms and the authority to kill people by Chicago Police Department." He also later replied to another tweet by saying, "Two people got hit by the same train crossing train tracks. Why shouldn’t they be nominated for Darwin Awards?"
The officers, Conrad Gary, age 31, and Eduardo Marmolejo, age 36, were responding to a call of shots fired near 103rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue on the South Side, and while chasing a suspect, it is believed that they heard one train coming toward them, but did not hear a second train coming from the opposite direction and they were fatally struck.
The comments caused uproar on social media resulting in a response from Arena and Murphy’s campaigns, distancing themselves from his comments.
"Mr. Nyberg’s comments about the tragic deaths of officers Marmolejo and Gary were astounding and disgusting. I am outraged by the callousness of his words as the families of Marmolejo and Gary, and the entire city, continue to mourn," Arena said in a Dec. 19 statement.
Arena’s campaign manager Connor Gallivan added, "Mr. Nyberg has been a volunteer on many campaigns throughout the city, including ours. He will not be welcome moving forward."
Arena’s response comes at a time when his aldermanic office has filed complaints against 31 police officers for their social media comments. Arena has charged that the officers made racially charged and offensive remarks about the planned mixed-income housing development at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy. The officers face disciplinary action for the comments.
In a Dec. 18 post on Facebook, Murphy denounced Nyberg’s comments and said that he asked Nyberg to remove his comments about the officers from Twitter.
"(Nyberg’s comments) don’t reflect my values," Murphy said in an interview on Dec. 19. "These two officers were killed in the line of duty. They were doing their job."
Murphy said that while Nyberg did help collect signatures for his campaign, he was not a staff member of the campaign and that he would no longer be a volunteer. Nyberg also collected signatures for Arena’s campaign, records show.
In a Dec. 17 press conference following the accident, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, "I think it’s really important that we put our arms around the Chicago Police Department and hold them up and support them at this critical juncture because we are dependent on their professionalism and their sense of duty."
Donations for the families of the officers can be made at gofundme.com/officer-conrad-gray and at gofundme.com/marmolejo-menorial-fund.
The officers are the third and fourth officers who died in the line of duty after Commander Paul Bauer and Officer Samuel Jimenez were slain this year.