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Man charged in bias attack facing new investigation

Posted at 8:11 PM, Jul 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 23:11:57-04

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police rearrested an Oregon man accused of attacking a California father and 5-year-old daughter this week after he failed to show up in court and officials said they're now investigating an alleged previous bias attack by the same man.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office told KPTV on Friday that they’re investigating accusations involving Dylan J. Kesterson, 34, in an attack on April 17, months before authorities say he punched the father and daughter July 2 while making comments about their Japanese descent.

The Portland Police Bureau confirmed officers responded to an alleged racially motivated attack April 17, but haven’t confirmed a connection with Kesterson.

Kesterson failed to appear in Multnomah County Circuit Court Wednesday for a pre-trial detention hearing, police said. Officers arrested him that afternoon and he was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. He's being held without bail, according to jail records.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s office filed seven charges against Kesterson on Tuesday in the July attack. Kesterson pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree bias crime, second-degree bias crime, harassment, assault, second-degree attempted assault and third-degree attempted assault.

Kesterson was initially arrested July 2 shortly after the reported assault at the Eastbank Esplanade.

According to court records, a man was bicycling with family members when Kesterson approached, made comments about their Japanese descent and then punched the father “multiple times on the back left side of his head.”

Court records also say Kesterson hit the man’s daughter, who was wearing a helmet, on the top of her head once. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said the father was treated at a hospital.

The father told police, according to court records, that he has had post-traumatic headaches and a mild concussion from the incident.

Reports of anti-Asian prejudice increased by the highest percentage in calls to Oregon’s bias hotline last year, according to an annual report from the state’s Criminal Justice Commission.