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Man charged with bias crime for attack on dad, 5-year-old daughter at Eastbank Esplanade

Police said the suspect made a comment about his perception that the victims were Japanese before assaulting them as they were riding bikes Saturday afternoon.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police arrested a man on bias crime charges after he allegedly assaulted a man and 5-year-old daughter in a racially motivated attack Saturday afternoon along the Eastbank Esplanade in Southeast Portland.  

Officers were dispatched to a report of an assault on the Eastbank Esplanade, just south of the Hawthorne Bridge around 3:45 p.m.

According to a news release, Dylan Kesterson, 34, approached a 36-year-old California man and his 5-year-old daughter as they were riding bikes. He reportedly made a comment about his perception that they were of Japanese descent and began punching the man and his daughter in the head. Both of them were wearing bicycle helmets at the time and neither required medical attention at the scene. 

RELATED: West Linn man charged in Northeast Portland bias crime at community center

Police said witnesses quickly intervened and the suspect began to walk away. Several witnesses stayed on scene and provide statements to investigators. 

Shortly after arriving on scene, officers arrested Kesterson on charges of first and second-degree bias crime. The following Tuesday, the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office announced additional charges of fourth-degree assault, harassment and attempted second and third-degree assault. 

Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio issued the following statement in response to Saturday's attack:

"I’m so sorry our guests were subject to this terrifying event and I want to personally apologize to them. No one should ever have to fear for their safety and security - whether visiting our city or living here. Everyone deserves to feel welcomed and belonging, and encounter a Portland free of racial bias and hate—especially children. Crimes like this are clear indicators of where our work and focus needs to be and why local governments working together to address our shared community issues is important," Rubio said.

Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps also issued the following statement:

"A bias attack on a father and five year old is horrific and unacceptable. My heart goes out to the family. We have got to bring back public safety in this town. I appreciate the work of the Portland Police Bureau in arresting this individual. I am concerned that he was released from jail the same day he was arrested," Mapps said.

RELATED: Man charged with bias crime in vandalism of synagogues, mosque and a Black-owned business

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