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.”