Originally published March 16, 2012 at 2:34 p.m., updated March 16, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
One of the co-founders of a San Diego nonprofit group that has recently made worldwide headlines was taken into custody Thursday after witnesses saw him masturbating in public and walking into traffic in Pacific Beach, according to San Diego police.
Witnesses told the San Diego Police Department they saw a man, later identified as 33-year-old Jason Russell, walking back and forth in his underwear and talking to himself near Ingraham Street and Riviera Road shortly before 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Police Statement on Ingraham Incident
A witness told police a man believed to be Russell's father-in-law approached him, but Russell became agitated, removed his underwear and then proceeded to masturbate. He then began walking into traffic, the witness said.
In a statement released Friday, the San Diego Police Department said one caller reported the man "had removed his underwear and was nude, perhaps masturbating," but that was not confirmed by police officers at the scene.
"The callers reported the underwear-clad male was in the street, interfering with traffic, screaming, yelling incoherently and pounding his fists on the sidewalk," the statement said. "Several people in the area tried to calm the male but he continued to act in a bizarre and irrational manner."
Russell is a co-founder of the group Invisible Children and the filmmaker credited for the "Kony 2012" video that was released online in the last few weeks and has since gone viral.
The "Kony 2012" video, part of a campaign to stop Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, has been viewed more than 100 million times, according to Internet analysts.
Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children, issued the following statement regarding Russell:
"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."
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