Friday, June 22, 2018

Police detain maker of 'Kony 2012'

SAN DIEGO — A co-founder of Invisible Children, the nonprofit organization whose video Kony 2012 has become an Internet sensation, was detained by the San Diego police Thursday, after they said he was found in the street in his underwear, screaming and interfering with traffic.

The police found filmmaker Jason Russell after responding to calls about a man who was acting irrationally, including one call that alleged he was naked and masturbating, a San Diego police spokeswoman said. He was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment, and the police have no plans to charge him.

"It's our belief that a medical condition would explain his irrational behavior as opposed to criminal intent," said Lt. Andra Brown, the spokeswoman. "If we thought he was under the influence, we wouldn't have taken him to a hospital; we would have taken him to jail."

The 30-minute Kony 2012 video has been viewed nearly 80 million times on YouTube since March 5. It has thrust a sudden celebrity upon Russell, 33, who narrates the video and appears in it with his young son, appealing to viewers to bring more attention to the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and advocating his arrest.

That success has brought criticism of Invisible Children for the way it spends its money, for a photograph of its founders, including Russell, holding rifles, and for other matters.

In a statement released Friday, Ben Keesey, chief executive of Invisible Children, said Russell was suffering from "exhaustion, dehydration and malnutrition."

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