Hamilton, NJ – Two men have been arrested in connection with a video that showed one of the men urinating on a memorial for a nine-year-old boy who died of brain cancer.
The family of the little boy, Christian Clopp, saw the video on social media, and alerted police, WSET reported.
They said they did not know either of the men in the video.
“Christian was a child who represented everything that was right,” said the little boy’s father, retired Hamilton Police Officer Mark Clopp, according to WCAU. “He had no enemies and smiled at everyone he came in contact with.
“These scumbags represent everything wrong,” the retired officer continued. “Narcissistic, drunken scumbags with no regard for anyone or anything.”
Christian succumbed to brain cancer five years ago, and his memorial sits in an all-access playground, WTRF reported.
The video showed one suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Bryan Bellace, as he urinated on the memorial, which contains a portrait of Christian.
The man recording the video, 23-year-old Daniel Flippen, can be heard laughing off-camera.
Both were arrested for having an open alcoholic beverage in a park, WCAU reported.
Bellace was also charged with criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and lewdness.
Several community members went to the area to clean and sanitize the memorial in the wake of the incident.
"To see something so disgusting in a community I love so much, I felt it was my obligation to come down here and pay respect to this young man," Mays Landing Lakers football coach Desmond Walker told WCAU.
“When Coach Desmond first heard about this story and contacted me, we were both so disgusted by what we read and heard we felt we needed to go down to this memorial clean it up and disinfect it,” Paul Burgan said in a Facebook post.
“We made this post to let people know that this is our community and we don’t condone to this type of sickening act,” Burgan wrote. “To the Clopp family we support you, we are here for you, and if we can prevent it we will never let something like this happen again on our watch.”
Resident Maria Wagner, who also came to clean up the site, said that the men who defaced Christian’s memorial are a disgrace, WCAU reported.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” she said of Bellace and Flippen. “A 9-year-old boy has more dignity than you.”
Christian’s father thanked those who went to the park to clean up the memorial, calling them “the glue that holds this community together.”
“Your actions were kind, thoughtful and selfless,” Clopp said. “You are the example of ‘loving thy neighbor.’ Thank God we have role models like you!”
He noted that he hopes Bellace and Flippen realize the hurt they have caused, and that they choose to live differently in the future.
“As for the two actors: I don’t know either one of you,” Clopp wrote. “I have no idea what exists in your life to make you so indifferent to how others feel but I hope this serves as a wake up call and you get the help you need. I admit, my initial reaction was to find you and beat you senseless in defense of my son’s honor and the distress you caused my family. I am better than that.”
“Something is wrong in your life and you need to fix it,” he added. “How you respond to this dictates the direction your life will take.”
Despite what occurred, the retired police officer said he was glad to see that his son’s memory brought the community together.
“At the end of the day, the good outweighed and overwhelmed the bad,” Clopp wrote in another post. “This is what Christian did during his life. He brought people together and he has accomplished that again. Perhaps the playground will be beautified, maybe expanded as a result. It doesn’t matter, as long as it is enjoyed by thousands of children in the future.”