EXCLUSIVE: Portland man has history of racially motivated attacks

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 7:05 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - 34-year-old Dylan Kesterson is behind bars right now facing assault and bias crime charges after allegedly attacking a Japanese family while yelling racial slurs on July 2. But now another alleged victim is speaking out.

After being sent FOX 12′s previous stories on Kesterson by a mutual friend, a woman in Michigan has come forward saying Kesterson attacked her months ago because of her Filipino heritage while she was vacationing in Portland. She says he was never caught after that.

Tyra Blackmon of Bay City, Michigan, says it was on Easter Sunday back on April 17 when she and her friends were enjoying a weekend vacation in Portland when a fun day took a scary turn.

The Portland Police Bureau confirms officers responded to an alleged racially motivated attack at SW 10th Ave. and Yamhill St. on April 17, but they didn’t immediately confirm the connection with Kesterson.

Blackmon says she took a photo of what appears to be Dylan Kesterson, after she says he brutally attacked her, and she saw him harassing multiple other people of Asian descent. Blackmon says she and her friends were having coffee and checking out stores near the intersection of SW 10th Avenue and Yamhill Street when all of a sudden they allegedly saw Kesterson yelling racial slurs and chasing a teenage boy and threatening others.

Dylan Kesterson's mugshot beside the image Tyra Blackmon took April 17.
Dylan Kesterson's mugshot beside the image Tyra Blackmon took April 17.(KPTV)

“A woman comes out of the coffee shop who is also Asian, and she has like a full carrier of coffee in her hand, and he walks up to her and literally slams them out of her hand and starts screaming at her,” Blackmon said.

It was after this incident Blackmon says Kesterson allegedly continued to run after the teenage boy, and she and her friends decided to intervene to help the boy but then he turned on them.

“He sees me and starts walking up to me really fast and he said ‘Are you Filipino?’ and I just froze immediately,” said Blackmon. “He grabbed the back of my head extremely hard, and gripped as hard as he could and threw me on the back of our car. I fell to the ground and he kept yanking and yanking.”

Blackmon says bystanders fended off Kesterson but he left before police arrived. Blackmon says Kesterson was so violent in his attack that he ripped strands of her hair out. In the coming months, Blackmon says little to no progress was made on her case. Blackmon says she was furious when she learn Kesterson was arrested on July 3 after an alleged racially motivated attack on a Japanese family on the Eastbank Esplanade, and was released because of not having criminal history.

“I was angry,” said Blackmon. “The cops are like ‘We’re going to do everything we can, we’re going to find him, and if not we’ll keep you updated. I didn’t hear anything for like a month or two.”

Blackmon says in late May, a Portland police detective got in touch with her and said police still had no sign of Kesterson. She feels had Kesterson been arrested months ago, the alleged racially motivated attack on a Japanese couple and their 5-year-old daughter may have been prevented.

“If there was more urgency to this, this could have been avoided,” said Blackmon. “That 5-year-old kid is going to be traumatized forever, that dad is going to be traumatized forever.

On Tuesday Kesterson pleaded not guilty by phone to assault and bias crime charges. He was taken into custody Wednesday after failing to appear in court. Kesterson is set to stay behind bars until July 22 for a preventative detention hearing.

Tyra Blackmon also said she contacted the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office after seeing media coverage on Kesterson.

FOX 12 was able to confirm with the DA’s office they are now investigating the case involving the alleged attack on Tyra Blackmon, and will provide updates next week.