A man has been charged with bias crimes in Portland, Oregon, after allegedly attacking a man and his 5-year-old daughter because he thought they were Japanese.
The victims, who came from California, were riding bikes along the Eastbank Esplanade on Saturday at around 3:45 p.m. when Dylan J. Kesterson, 34, approached them and “made comments about his perception that they were of Japanese descent,” Portland police said.
After making the remark, Kesterson allegedly began hitting the 36-year-old man in the head. He then punched the man’s 5-year-old daughter in her bike helmet “numerous times.”
Witnesses in the area immediately intervened, according to reports. Kesterson, who walked away, was arrested nearby shortly after.
The victims were reportedly hurt but did not require medical attention. The man’s wife, who was also riding a bike and witnessed the incident, was not reported to have been assaulted.
“I am outraged and disgusted by the assault that occurred on the Eastbank Esplanade. We will not tolerate this kind of behavior in our community and I will ask the District Attorney to pursue maximum penalty,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement.
Commissioner Carmen Rubio expressed apologies to the family in a statement on Sunday. She said everyone, especially children, deserves to feel welcomed in a Portland free of racial bias and hate.
“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,” Rubio said.
Kesterson was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on one felony count of first-degree bias crime and two misdemeanor counts of second-degree bias crimes. He has since been released, with his arraignment scheduled for Tuesday.
Featured Image via bikesharedude