Russell Brand is A LOT of things ... but homeless-man's-cart-runner-over is NOT one of them ... this according to Brand himself.
As TMZ previously reported, Brand was spotted picking up trash and bottles in the street earlier this week after he allegedly smashed into a homeless man's shopping cart and knocked it over.
But Sunday in Hollywood, Brand told us the video is not what it seems ... and that he just happened to drive by, saw the mess, and decided to lend a helping hand. In other words ... he's kind of a hero.
Until he mentions hitting people with his car for fun ... which we hope was a joke.