Police say racial bias motivated assault of bicycle riders on Eastbank Esplanade

Eastbank Esplanade south of Hawthorne Bridge. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A man and his young daughter were assaulted by a stranger while bicycling on the Eastbank Esplanade this past Saturday.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, a 36-year-old man, his wife and his 5-year-old daughter were pedaling on the Esplanade just south of the Hawthorne Bridge when they were approached by a man who began punching them. The family was visiting from California.

The PPB says the incident is being treated as a bias crime. 

Here’s more from the PPB statement

“Officers contacted the victims… and learned that they were hurt but they did not require immediate medical attention. Officers learned that the man was riding bikes with his wife and daughter when the suspect approached, made comments about his perception that they were of Japanese descent, and began punching the man in his head. The suspect then punched the 5-year-old girl in her bike helmet numerous times. Nearby witnesses quickly intervened and the suspect began walking away. Several witnesses remained at the scene and provided statements to investigating officers.”

Dylan J. Kesterson, 34, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Bias Crime in the First Degree and Bias Crime in the Second Degree (2 counts). As per Oregon statute, a Bias Crime is committed when someone, “Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person because of the person’s perception of the other person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.”

KOIN news reported that Kesterson was released from jail one day after his arrest and is due back in court today (7/5).

A spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation said in a statement emailed to BikePortland, “We were heartbroken to hear the news of this bias crime on an important and popular corridor for people biking and pedestrians. PBOT believes that people should be free to travel throughout our city without fear of bias or intimidation.”

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Watts
Watts
1 month ago

Why was someone arrested for randomly assaulting people based on their perceived ethnicity released? Isn’t that the exact sort of behavior that is by definition a threat to public safety? Is this a reflection of a “progressive” vision for our criminal justice system?

PS
PS
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

What can you say, Mike Schmidt does Mike Schmidt things, like not prosecute crime.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

I agree- this person should not be walking the street. If they are going to release someone this violent, I think their mugshot should be shared for the community benefit. I recall there was decision to stop sharing mugshots to prevent them from impreding logtemr rehabilitation which makes some sense. However, if an unhinged violnet racist cannot be detained for teh safety of the community, thenI think the the community should be widely warned.

Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

This is easy. Jails and courts are filled to the brim.

But, hope is on the way! Latest 4th of July poll shows Americans now prefer dictatorship over democracy, which will free up more money for jails. Courts will become unnecessary. Plus, It deals with the gun problem as most dictatorships prohibit private ownership of guns.

Let’s go?

dwk
dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

(KOIN) — There are currently about 780 people in the Multnomah County Jail out of nearly 1200 available beds, according to the most recent Jail Capacity Report from February. 

I have no idea what Schmidt thinks warrants jail time, the jails are not full because no one gets arrested hardly..
Vandalism is completely ignored and violent crimes against people are not prosecuted.
Schmidt and Wheeler are so Awful, it did defies comprehension.

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Editor
Reply to  dwk

Thank you dwk for mentioning the jail capacity report:

https://www.mcso.us/site/pdf/stats/Jail%20Report%20February%202022.pdf

Pete S.
Pete S.
1 month ago
Reply to  dwk

You seem to be arguing that increased incarceration results in increased public safety, an assertion supported by about the same amount of empirical evidence as the existence of the Easter Bunny.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete S.

You think a guy who just assaulted a 5 year old should not be in jail?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete S.

Really? Cause we’ve had very decreased incarceration in Portland as a result of covid. How is that going for the community in terms of criminal impact? Its a great natural experiment that’s for sure.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Pete knows it but it’s a really cool thing to say…

Damien
Damien
1 month ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Really? Cause we’ve had very decreased incarceration in Portland as a result of covid. How is that going for the community in terms of criminal impact? Its a great natural experiment that’s for sure.

It’s actually a terrible experiment, given all the different uncontrolled variables at play. In other words, it allows people to bring their priors and assign blame based on preconceived notions and biased perception rather than causal evidence.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  Damien

Murders and violent crime in Portland has increased at a higher rate than other cities in the US. Is it the decriminalization of hard drugs, the loss of a big chunk of our police department, the DA? Who knows.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

Common sense would say all the above + tent camping, where some of these criminal types arrive from far flung places and hide out.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
1 month ago
Reply to  Damien

Or one could say fewer people incarcerated for crime has led to more crime. Its not rocket science.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Pete S.

You seem to be arguing…

It seems a pretty compelling argument to me that if a guy is in jail he cannot also be out assaulting another family on the Esplanade.

I don’t know how I can provide satisfactory empirical evidence that this statement is true, but I believe most people would see it as self-evident.

And where do you think those chocolate eggs come from?

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Editor
Reply to  Watts

LOL. And when I say LOL I mean it! Audible.

bbcc
bbcc
1 month ago
Reply to  dwk

Pretty sure that a judge, not the DA or mayor, sets bond & decides whether a defendant should remain in jail between arraignment & trial.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  bbcc

The DA Makes the recommendation, Schmidt has now requested he be held in jail because of public pressure… nice try.

bbcc
bbcc
1 month ago
Reply to  Dwk

Is that just your opinion? The DA’s office says it wasn’t involved in the initial decision to release him.

https://www.wweek.com/news/courts/2022/07/06/portland-man-accused-of-racist-attack-on-family-doesnt-show-up-to-court-hearing/

dwk
dwk
1 month ago
Reply to  bbcc

You were correct, it was a Judge who let him out.. she should be recalled.. the DA one after him when it was obvious it was a Bias crime and he would be embarrassed not to.
I am sure it also took a call from Ted, these stories are killing business and normal life here and he is finally getting it, as Slow as he is…

Serenity
Serenity
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Proud Boys in the department, maybe?

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Serenity

Not the police department — they’re the ones who arrested him.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago

Somehow I don’t think this one is going to make it into the next Travel Portland ad.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

Well, anything can happen and we like it that way.

Mike Quigley
Mike Quigley
1 month ago

How about that guy in Eugene who killed his father, tried to kill his mother, burned their house down, stole their car, intentionally ran down and killed two pedestrians and severely injured another.

Arrested, but released to a half-way house in Woodburn.

Time to consign America to the trash heap of history?

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Quigley

Do you have a link to share? I’d like to learn more about this.

Fred
Fred
1 month ago

It’s funny to go back and read the similar story from 2015. We were kinda horrified back then about unhinged people messing up our beautiful city. Today they are the norm, but back then BP used words like “homeless” and “transient” that are verboten today. Interesting how words like “houseless” attempt to normalize the dysfunction we are all seeing.

Mark McClure
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

This post was my attempt two months ago to draw attention to the current state of the Eastbank Esplanade. I got on my soapbox in one of my comments to a viewer regarding the (in my words) “…city’s tolerance for lawlessness.”

What would Vera Katz (1933 – 2017) think? | Portland Eastbank Esplanade

I included the ‘before’ photo I took in 2009, when I was commuting by bicycle to and from downtown, to show viewers what the esplanade used to be like. I miss those days.

PS: On my walks along the esplanade this year I’ve never met a park ranger. Perhaps it’s just been unfortunate timing? Do the rangers ride bicycles?

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
1 month ago
Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  Bryan Morris

He’s been re-arrested. Probably got a sternly worded letter, also.

Denise Waterford
Denise Waterford
1 month ago

How did he manage to get released?

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
1 month ago

This is Portland we’re talking about. The perp made a pinky swear to the judge that he’d show up for his court date and be a good boy until then. Plus he was white.