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Jason Russell 'no problem,' but police feared for his safety

March 16, 2012 |  4:58 pm

Invisible Children filmmaker Jason Russell was walking the streets of Pacific Beach in only his underwear Thursday afternoon and yelling incoherently, prompting residents to call authorities, San Diego police said.

Police said some callers reported that Russell was naked and touching himself. When police arrived, he was wearing underwear.

Police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown said Russell was cooperative.

"He was no problem for the Police Department," she said. But officers concluded that he could not be released and could pose a danger to himself or others.

Russell, 33, was detained and taken to a mental health facility, under a law that allows police to have someone evaluated for mental problems. A video has now surfaced allegedly showing Russell in the moments before police arrived.

The video on TMZ.com shows a naked man angrily pounding the pavement with his hands.

Invisible Children, a San Diego-based nonprofit that produced the video, confirmed the hospitalization. Reporters on Friday were blocked from visiting the group's headquarters, and Invisible Children workers were seen crying and talking on cellphones.

Ben Keesey, the company's chief executive officer, said Russell was suffering from exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition.

"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," Keesey said in a statement. "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."

The group's video about African militia leader Joseph Kony has attracted more than 80 million viewers, provoking a worldwide outcry about violence and the use of child soldiers.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego