Updated on second page with VIDEO of the meltdown and exclusive details from the San Diego PD. (Correction: Russell wasn't arrested, only detained. Headline has been changed.)
According to NBC San Diego, cops caught the “storyteller and dreamer” behind the Kony 2012 campaign running around Pacific Beach yesterday morning — going batshit crazy and wreaking havoc on the college party town.
Jason Russell, 33, was “allegedly found masturbating in public, vandalizing cars and possibly under the influence of something” …
… reports the local news station. San Diego police Lieutenant Andra Brown tells reporters that the Invisible Children co-founder was dressed only “in his underwear” and “acting very strange” when cops detained him at Ingraham and Riviera, on the “Crown Point” of P.B.
He appeared to be drunk or on some kind of drug:
Police said they received several calls yesterday at 11:30 a.m. of a man in various stages of undress, running through traffic and screaming.
After the Kony 2012 video went viral earlier this month, many news outlets have followed up with critiques of Invisible Children, saying those concerned about child slavery and violence in Uganda might want to think twice before donating to the San Diego-based charity.
Russell, who was reportedly arrested in broad daylight near the bridge to Ocean Beach, is described in his Invisible Children bio as “radical” and “insane”:
Jason “Radical” Russell is a co-founder of Invisible Children, as well as our grand storyteller and dreamer. His sparks of creative intelligence and insanity have propelled IC to redefine the concept of humanitarian work, offering new life to old hope. A filmmaker by trade, Jason graduated from the University of Southern California's film school with a degree in Cinema Production. He admires Oprah, Bono, Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Baz Luhrmann, and Dan Eldon and believes wholeheartedly in magic and the impossible. Already a proud papa to Gavin Danger and Everley Darling, Jason wants to have nine more children with his beautiful wife Danica‚ the girl who has been his best friend for over 23 years.
In response to criticism that Invisible Children only spends one-third of its budget on ground-level aid and supports the controversial Uganda military, Russell recently
“We're an unorthodox organization. We work outside of the traditional box of what you think about charity and nonprofit.”
No kidding. We're calling the San Diego Police Department for more. Check back for updates.
UP NEXT: Invisible Children gives its take on what happened to Russell, and we speak with the SDPD.
Slate just Tweeted an official statement from Invisible Children. It reads:
“Jason Russell was unfortunately hospitalized yesterday suffering from exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. He is now receiving medical care and is focused on getting better. The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday. Jason's passion and his work have done so much to help so many, and we are devastated to see him dealing with this personal health issue. We will always love and support Jason, and we ask that you give his entire family privacy during this difficult time.”
We also just had a little chat with Lieutenant Brown in the SDPD's media-relations office. She won't actually confirm that yesterday morning's detainee was Russell, but says cops “detained a 33-year-old white male.”
She explains that the department received a call for a “welfare check” on the man, who was “naked and running in the street.”
Brown is not sure where NBC San Diego got the information that the man was “vandalizing” anything. She does, however, confirm that he was “interfering with cars” in some way.
No criminal charges have been filed against Russell, says the lieutenant. In fact, he was never even jailed. Cops merely transported him to a local medical facility for care.
As one might suspect, this is the busiest day in the recent history of the San Diego Police Department. Pacific Beach sees its fair share of drunken shenanigans, but not usually involving characters this high-profile.
“Even when we had an officer assassinated on duty, nobody cared this much,” says Brown, clearly overworked.
Update: TMZ's version is a little juicier. “Sources” of the online gossip rag allegedly say that “Russell was dancing around the Intersection of Ingraham and Riviera wearing 'speedo-like underwear' … and eventually removed the underwear and began to make sexual gestures.”
Russell is being hospitalized on a 5150 psychiatric hold so authorities can assess his mental state. The 5150 hold allows authorities to keep Russell for up to 3 days to determine if he represents a threat to either himself or others.
Update: Oh geez. Looks like the Kony meltdown of 2012 was every bit as batshit as it was alleged to be. Here's video from TMZ: