By BRETT WILKISON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo released a written statement Wednesday night providing his account of a Labor Day street fight in San Diego that led to his arrest on suspicion of battery.
In an email statement released shortly before 8 p.m., Carrillo offered his most detailed explanation of the altercation in the city’s popular Gaslamp Quarter but said he would not answer questions until legal charges against him are resolved.
To buttress his explanation, Carrillo also provided an account from San Diego resident Sarah Anaraki, 26, one of several women friends who Carrillo said he was protecting from harassment by a man he identified as Rayan Jastaniyah.
Jastaniyah, 22, of San Diego, was also arrested by police, who stopped the fight and found a third man unconscious in the street.
Carrillo, 31, was in San Diego on what he called a “mini-vacation” with three friends from Sonoma County. On Sept. 2, he went out with his former college roommate, San Diego resident Armando Durazo, and three women invited by Durazo to join them for dinner at Las Adas Bar and Grill. The five then visited Fluxx nightclub, where Oakland rapper Too $hort was performing.
After the club closed, Carrillo, Durazo and the three women were on the street outside the club at about 2 a.m., when Carrillo said he and Jastaniyah got into a “brief pushing altercation” after Jastaniyah had harassed the women.
Carrillo said he and Durazo were a few steps in front of the women when he heard two of them tell Jastaniyah “stop bothering us.”
“He was making physical contact as well as verbally harassing them,” Carrillo said.
“I approached out of concern for the well-being of the women and asked him to back off. There were many people in the vicinity. (Jastaniyah) advanced toward the women again so I pushed him away from them. At that point a brief pushing altercation broke out between me and (Jastaniyah).”
Anaraki, whose account was contained in a report prepared by a private investigator for Carrillo’s attorney, said Jastaniyah had stepped in her path, grabbed her waist and her butt.
“I told him to leave me alone,” she said in the account. “I told him twice, ‘Stop harassing me!’ . . . Efren took a few steps toward us, the guy turned to face him,” she said.
She said Carrillo tried to help her by getting the man away from her and her two friends, Narina Oganesova and Nicole Mayer.
“Carrillo pushed the subject and the subject went into the crowd,” Anaraki’s statement read.
From that point, both statements give a sketchy account of the altercation, including who injured an Arizona man, Jovan Will, 30, who was knocked out and briefly hospitalized.
“Everything occurred so fast that a detailed account with 100 percent accuracy is impossible but I do know that at least two other males lunged toward me in the scuffle,” Carrillo said. “I did see one of the guys attacking me get hit by someone in the crowd. I couldn’t tell who (h)it him. The guy who got hit fell to the ground.” Carrillo’s statement does not identify the man.
“Seconds later the police arrived. I was taken to the San Diego jail,” Carrillo said, along with Jastaniyah.
Anaraki told the private investigator that she had kept her eye on Carrillo and his friend Durazo during the fight and did not see either of them hit anybody, an assertion she said Mayer repeated to police at the time.
Reached by phone late Wednesday, Anaraki declined further comment. “Everything I know is in that prepared statement,” she said.
The accounts represent Carrillo’s first detailed response to his arrest, including where he was and who he was with over the three-day Labor Day weekend.
It started with a drive down from San Diego on Friday Aug. 31 in a rental car with three friends from Sonoma County — identified only as Alex, Don and Paul — and ended with the return trip to Sonoma County on Labor Day, after Carrillo had posted $10,000 bail. He was in police custody for about 10 hours and was released from jail around noon.
Neither Carrillo nor Anaraki, however, say who they believe struck Will. He has declined to comment.
Anaraki said she had two glasses of champagne at Fluxx but was sober when the fight broke out. Carrillo did not disclose if he had consumed alcohol that night.
Both statements put Jastaniyah at the center of the altercation. Authorities have not detailed his involvement in the fight, other than to say that he and Carrillo do not appear to know each other.
Both men were arrested on the same allegations, felony battery and disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor.
Detectives turned over the investigation last week to the San Diego city attorney’s office, after downgrading Carrillo’s case to allegations of misdemeanor battery and disturbing the peace. The city attorney will determine whether to prosecute.
Lt. Andra Brown, a spokeswoman for San Diego police, last week said she did not know if anyone interceded in Carrillo’s case or exerted political pressure.
Jastaniyah faces a single misdemeanor disturbing the peace allegation. He has not been reached.
Wednesday’s statement reinforced a brief written account issued by Carrillo’s office on Sept. 5, two days after his arrest.
In that statement, Carrillo said he had been socializing with friends and stepped in to protect women from “rowdies.” He has repeatedly refused to discuss the incident over the last two weeks, nine days of which he was in Russia with a group of North Coast residents marking the bicentennial of Fort Ross.
Carrillo, who returned Friday, said last week he planned to release a “full report” telling his side of the story. He emailed his and Anakari’s statement to The Press Democrat at 7:48 p.m. Wednesday, saying in a text message that the late timing came after a full-day meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday and “back to back meetings” Wednesday.
“I released it as soon as I could,” he said in the text message.
He said he would not provide any additional information on the incident until “the outstanding legal issues are finally resolved.”
He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 15, but the case could be dropped before then.
Staff Writer Lori A. Carter contributed to this story.
You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@ pressdemocrat.com.