No charges over Kony2012 director's naked meltdown in street

Wife of film-maker denies drink or drugs were involved in his mental breakdown

Jason Russell, a film-maker and activist behind the viral sensation Kony2012, will probably escape charges after running naked through the streets of San Diego last week, police said yesterday.

Mr Russell's family said the bizarre incident was the result of a mental breakdown, brought on by exhaustion and a barrage of public attacks against him and his video demanding the arrest of the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony.

"We thought a few thousand people would see the film but in less than a week millions of people ... saw it," said Mr Russell's wife, Danica. "While that attention was great for raising awareness about Joseph Kony, it also brought a lot of attention to Jason and, because of how personal the film is, many of the attacks against it were also very personal, and Jason took them very hard."

Mr Russell was seen running around a busy crossroads in San Diego clad only in his underwear, shouting and gesticulating. He then removed his underpants and beat his fists on the pavement before being restrained by police and passers-by. Police said some onlookers thought he had vandalised cars and masturbated. He has been under psychiatric observation since last week. His family said there was no suggestion that drink or drugs were involved.

Footage of the incident uploaded on to the gossip website TMZ is also now a viral sensation, but Mr Russell's wife and staff at his charity, Invisible Children, insisted their campaigns would continue while he deals with his health. "We will take care of Jason, you take care of the work," Mrs Russell said. "The message of the film remains the same: stop at nothing."

Mr Russell's 29-minute video is aimed at enlisting support for military efforts to find and arrest Kony, whose decades-old reign of terror in central Africa involved rape, murder and the abduction of children to be used as boy soldiers or as sex slaves. Kony is the most-wanted person on the International Criminal Court's list of suspected war criminals.

For most of the past decade, Mr Russell has been campaigning for Western intervention to speed Kony's arrest, and Invisible Children has provided aid to villages devastated by war in central Africa. His charity is gearing up for a day of protest next month, in which it aims to blanket cities around the world in Kony2012 stickers and posters.

The video passed 82 million views on YouTube yesterday, two weeks after it was first uploaded by Invisible Children. But it has also generated a backlash from people who say it paints a simplistic or even distorted picture of the current situation in central Africa.

After founding his Lord's Resistance Army in the 1980s, Kony terrorised large parts of Uganda but his reign of terror has subsided since 2005 and he is now believed to command only a few hundred followers, scattered in remote jungle hideouts in neighbouring countries.

The Ugandan government took to YouTube to redress what it said was an imbalanced picture of the country given by Mr Russell's film. "The Kony 2012 campaign fails to make one crucial point clear: Joseph Kony is not in Uganda," said Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week