Just when you think people can’t be more cruel or disturbing, you see a story like this out of Hamilton Township, New Jersey.
Police say they’ve arrested two men in connection with a disgusting crime.
Officers in Hamilton Township received information on Sunday about a “disturbing video” of a man urinating on a granite memorial to Christian Clopp. Clopp was a 9-year-old local Cub Scout who died of brain cancer in 2012.
The investigation led police to arrest Bryan Bellace, 23, of Egg Harbor City and Daniel Flippen, 23, of Hammonton.
#BREAKING UPDATE: 2 men were arrested and charged after video surfaced showing one of them urinating on a memorial for an NJ boy who died of cancer, police said: https://t.co/ej2uGG4gm6 pic.twitter.com/VL0AvTmqPw
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) May 20, 2019
The video above has been blurred, but you can see the act as it’s filmed. In it, a man urinates on the memorial for Christian Clopp, and the person filming also scans away to show a Bud Light can as well.
The audio has been stripped in the above video. But in others you can hear laughter, as well as Bellace allegedly saying, “In memory.” The man videotaping the scene says, “Jesus Criminy.”
Bellace was charged with lewdness, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief and violating an local ordinance of having an open alcoholic beverage in a park.
Police said Flippen filmed the video. He was also was charged with having an open alcoholic beverage in a park.
The memorial was built in the Mays Landing Lakers Youth Sports Facility playground area.
Community members were outraged and reacted strongly on social media, with comments such as “disgrace,” “trash” and “karma” on the Hamilton Township Police Department’s Facebook page.
Christian’s father is Mark Clopp. He shared his own emotions about what happened on his Facebook page.
“Losing a child is an horrific experience that, to say the least is life changing. When all you have are memories and someone does that it is heartbreaking,'” he said. His post also urged against anyone taking retaliatory action.
He shared a post about local coaches Paul Burgan and Desmond Walker cleaning the memorial.
“At the end of the day, the good outweighed and overwhelmed the bad,” Clopp said. “This is what Christian did during his life. He brought people together and he has accomplished that again.”
Mark Clopp put up a second post talking more about his perspective:
Okay, I have been contacted by all of our major news agencies for an on-camera interview in the past 24 hours. I have declined all. I don’t think a 10 second clip of my feelings are going to change what happened in any way. As a father and retired police officer, I think this incident can be turned into a positive by becoming a learning experience for all.
For starters, I hate vandalism of any kind. We work hard and pay a fortune in taxes and in return we all simply want to live in a nice town and have equal access to nice things which we have all paid for. Don’t tolerate graffiti or sit and watch anyone destroy public property without reporting it or saying something. The appearance of where we live affects property values and the overall morale of the community. Please teach your children this.
As for the two actors: I don’t know either one of you. 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. I hope it doesn’t take the heartache my family has lived through to open your eyes. Something is wrong in your life and you need to fix it. You have done serious damage to your reputation; only you can fix it. How you respond to this dictates the direction your life will take.
I am equally disgusted that this act was done at a children’s playground. It has a personal attachment because of my son but when we deprive the mist innocent among us a nice, clean, safe place to play and be kids, I find that particularly disturbing. I would love to respond as a community by adding to the playground, perhaps adding to the play area or adding landscaping/ picnic tables to make it even nicer.
Those who went to clean the playground: You are the glue that holds this community together. Your actions were kind, thoughtful and selfless. You are the example of “loving thy neighbor.” Thank God we have role models like you!
I want to thank Hamilton Township Police for handling the matter swiftly and professionally. Those officers are my brothers and sisters with whom I worked with for many years. Although some were emotionally invested from knowing Christian, the matter was handled the same as if any other resident was the victim. The actors involved were treated fairly and that is important.
When Christian’s plaque was being made for the playground, I chose the words carefully. “ A child who made the world a better place through his courage, faith, smile, laughter and love of others.” “May your memory and inspiration live on forever.”
Once again, that 9 year old boy brought a community together.
Thank you for all of your support!
It’s reminiscent of a similar crime that happened in March in Massachusetts. That’s where dozens of graves at a Jewish cemetery in Fall River were vandalized. It lead to police opening up a hate crime investigation.
Police found swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti on the gravestones. They were defaced using a black marker and some were pushed over, police said.
The first day, police estimated that 25 gravestones were vandalized. That number more than doubled on the second day to 59.
The graves were marked with words such as “heil Hitler” and “Hitler was right.”
The Anti-Defamation League New England condemned the crime:
“The desecration of The Hebrew Cemetery of Fall River is an inexcusable act of anti-Semitic hatred in the place where we honor and remember the lives of our community members.”
Louis Gitlan, who has relatives buried at the cemetery, weighed in on the damage to local meda outlets. He pointed out that many of the people buried at the Fall River cemetery faced persecution during their lives.
“What did they go through to get to this place, and finally be free? Then realize that they can’t escape it,” he said.