PORTLAND, Ore. — The victim of an anti-Asian bias crime in Portland has asked a judge to put his alleged attacker back behind bars. Dylan Kesterson, 34, was released from jail shortly after being booked on assault and bias crime charges this weekend.
“We felt we might be killed,” explained the victim by phone during an arraignment hearing Tuesday. “This is a very horrible experience for us and if he’s released, we believe a lot of Japanese and other Asians will be injured.”
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office said prosecutors will request Kesterson be returned to custody and held without bail. A detention hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Kesterson, who does not appear to have any prior criminal history, pleaded not guilty to assault and bias crime charges.
On Saturday, Portland police arrested Kesterson after he allegedly assaulted a 5-year-old girl and her father, both of Japanese descent, after making comments about their race.
The victim, who asked to have his name withheld for fear of retaliation, detailed the incident in an email to KGW.
The man, his wife and 5-year-old daughter were visiting Portland for the 4th of July holiday weekend. They were riding a rental four-wheel bicycle together along the waterfront when a white man began yelling anti-Asian slurs. Suddenly, the victim said that the man switched from words to physical violence.
“He hit my head more than 50 times,” the victim explained. The attacker also punched his daughter in the head. Luckily she was wearing a helmet. His wife was not injured in the attack.
Within minutes, several people responded to help and the suspect, later identified as Kesterson, was arrested.
A recent report by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission found Anti-Asian incidents in the state increased by almost 200% last year.
The victim and his family have since returned home to California. They are doing okay physically, although the little girl was traumatized.
“Every one of my friends recommended me to visit Portland because it is a good city. But for us, it is hard to visit there anymore,” said the victim.