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Police say the suspect perceived the California father and daughter to be Japanese on Saturday.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF PORTLAND - The entrance of the Eastbank Esplanade near the Hawthorne Bridge.A man has been arrested on bias crime charges for assaulting two Californians on the Eastbank Esplanade on Saturday, July 2.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, Dylan J. Kesterson, 34, attacked a father and his daughter because he perceived them to be Japanese.

The victims' names were not released.

Police said that at 3:45 p.m. on July 2, Central Precinct Officers were dispatched to a report of an assault in progress on the Eastbank Esplanade along the east bank of the Willamette River, just south of the Hawthorne Bridge. As officers responded, they learned that the suspect was leaving the scene. Officers were able to locate and detain the suspect nearby before he got away.

Officers contacted the victims, a 36-year-old man from California and his 5-year-old daughter, 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," the bureau said in a Saturday press release.

Kesterson, 34, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on two counts of Bias Crime in the First Degree and Bias Crime in the Second Degree.

According to the bureau, under Oregon law, bias crimes are defined as any criminal act that targets a victim based on the suspect's perception of the victim's race, color, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity or national origin.

The bureau investigates all reports of bias-motivated crimes and encourages any member of our community who is the victim of such a crime to contact law enforcement. Detectives work to determine whether or not bias elements are present during the reported crime that align with Oregon law as defined in the following Oregon Revised Statutes:

• ORS 166.165: Bias Crime in the First Degree, oregonlaws.org/ors/166.165.

• ORS 166.155: Bias Crime in the Second Degree, oregonlaws.org/ors/166.155.

The bureau said anyone who has been the victim of a bias crime assault or who has witnessed one should immediately call 911. Anyone who has been the victim of a different bias crime and the suspect is no longer present, such as vandalism or graffiti, should call the non-emergency line at 503-823-3333.

To learn more about bias crime investigations and reported bias/hate crime statistics within the City of Portland, visit portlandoregon.gov/police/77066.


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