Bryan Bellace, 23, was charged on May 19 with lewdness, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief after he was captured in a viral video allegedly urinating on a plaque at a playground in Mays Landing dedicated to Christian Clopp, a 9-year-old boy who died from an inoperable brain tumor. The plaque reads, “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.”
Township of Hamilton Police Department said in a statement that they received information about the video circulating on social media earlier that day. Authorities also charged 23-year-old Daniel Flippen, who was filming Clopp, with having an open alcoholic beverage in a park.
In the video, Bellace, who was wearing his company’s T-shirt, could be seen putting a beer can on the ground before committing the alleged offense. The 23-year-old told ABC news that he did not remember the incident as he was intoxicated, apologizing for his conduct.
“It was a big mistake I made. I was intoxicated. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time,” Bellace told the news station. “When I came to my senses the next day, I realized I made a huge mistake. I wish I could take it all back and make things right.”
New Jersey — Man who allegedly urinated on child’s park memorial says ‘I made a huge mistake’ https://t.co/NaGhaGrWkV
— KAMC News (@KAMCNews) May 21, 2019
Following the community outrage, Bellace’s father, Bruce, said he was not proud of his son and has apologized to the family for his actions.
“I’m not proud of him,” Bruce told Press of Atlantic City. “I had to remove him from employment.”
“Ultimately it’s my fault. Maybe we didn’t teach him right,” he added.
Christian’s father, Mark Clopp, also reacted to the video in a Facebook post, saying that his initial reaction was to “was to find you and beat you senseless in defense of my son’s honor and the distress you caused my family.”
But the former police officer said he was above that and instead hopes the incident becomes a learning experience for the two men.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Clopp added.
After the incident, community members from Hamilton Township came together to clean up the memorial.
“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!” Clopp said in his post.
Bellace was released on a summons and is expected in court on May 29, reported Press Atlantic City.