Portland high school football coach says fired because of job as a police officer

Ken Duilio was dismissed from his job coaching high school football after a flier campaign was launched against him because of his history with the Portland Police Department

Updated: July 23, 2020 - 2:48pm

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A high school football coach in Portland, Oregon, says he was fired by the city's public schools system because he's a police sergeant. 

Ken Duilio, a member of the Portland Police Bureau, said he was told Monday that his coaching contract at Cleveland High School would not be renewed, after having signed with the program last year.

He says the reason for his dismissal "100 percent" had to do with his job as a police officer. Duilio alleges that a group formed to put pressure on the school to terminate him as a coach after he spoke with the police department during a news conference on June 26. 

After the conference, fliers with Duilio's picture were stapled to telephone polls throughout Portland, connecting him to past incidents as an officer that Duilio says have been "distorted."

The flier lists two incidents involving Duilio dating back nearly two decades. The first was an altercation between five gang-associated males and three off-duty officers outside a Portland restaurant. The attack was thought to be a retaliatory effort on behalf of the gang members for a previous encounter with the officers. 

The second incident involved Duilio shooting a man named Bruce Browne. Duilio responded to a call about a man wielding a gun at a convenience store gas station. Before Duilio arrived, Browne wrestled the 9mm handgun from the man in questions, Duilio mistook Browne for the criminal offender and shot him. 

Duilio called his actions "regretful" and visited Browne in the hospital. The police department settled the case with Browne for $200,000.

According to Duilio, about a week ago, he was called into the school district office to discuss the fliers, and was told the district "didn't see a path moving forward because of pressure they're getting."

He was then asked to resign, which he says he respectfully declined.

Later in the week, Duilio was again asked to resign, again he declined saying he did not feel it was the right thing to do. One day later, Duilio was fired by Marshall Haskins, the Portland Public Schools athletic director.

Haskins declined to say why they had opted not to renew Duilio's contract, but denied the decision having to do with Duilio's police job. 

“We don’t make decisions based on pressure from parents or outside people,” said Haskins.