Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, back from a nine-day trip to Russia, returned to the public arena at a pair of local events on Saturday but remained tight-lipped about the street fight that resulted in his arrest in San Diego nearly two weeks ago.
The 31-year-old supervisor shared no new information about the incident and refused to discuss how he is dealing with the ramifications, political and otherwise, that stem from his legal case.
Last week, police downgraded the charges to a pair of misdemeanor allegations: battery causing serious bodily injury and disturbing the peace. The San Diego city attorney now has the case and will determine whether or not to prosecute.
Carrillo, who returned from Russia on Friday, declined Saturday to talk about the case, including who he was with in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego and the events that led to his arrest at 2:10 a.m. on Labor Day outside a popular nightclub.
Beyond echoing a written statement issued by his office Sept. 5 — two days after his arrest and a day before he left for Russia — his only answer was to say that he plans on giving a "full report" about the incident toward the beginning of this week.
"Until that time, I will only say that I've put out a statement and that everything I said in that previous statement is true," Carrillo said Saturday morning in a telephone call.
Responding to questions about his arrest, he echoed only the information in his first statement: That he was on a personal trip to San Diego and was socializing with a group of friends, including women, who he stepped in to protect when they were harassed by "rowdies."
"I'll have a more thorough report next week," he said.
Carrillo's comments came hours before he appeared at a pair of community events Saturday, including a celebration of Mexican Independence Day at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.
There, at 3 p.m. in front of a crowd of more than 100 in the East Auditorium, organizer Crystal Rangel introduced Carrillo to applause as "an example to follow for all of our youth."
Carrillo spoke of his family background — his parents immigrated from Mexico and raised their family in Santa Rosa — and presented several leadership awards to community organizations.
"For me it's an honor to be here celebrating the day of Mexican independence," he said to the crowd in Spanish.
Support for Carrillo was steadfast among attendees.
The arrest and allegations change nothing, said Salvador Oseguera, 71, of Santa Rosa, who said he voted for Carrillo in June, when he won a second term on the Board of Supervisors.
Carrillo remains the only county elected leader who is Latino, Oseguera said. "We're going to continue to support him. He's the only one we have," he said.
Later in the day, the county supervisor was among more than 700 people taking part in the annual 4H Foundation of Sonoma County fundraiser, at Richard's Grove and Saralee's Vineyard outside Windsor.
The public appearances were the first for Carrillo — in the United States, at least — since news of his arrest filtered out Sept. 5.
Since then, debate has persisted over how Carrillo and his advisers have handled the aftermath, as well as questions about the future, including the implications for Carrillo's political career — one seen by many to include a future bid for higher office.