PORTLAND, OR – It seems as though a form of cancel culture may have played out recently within a Portland high school, as a football coach found himself terminated and he’s saying it has to do with him being a Portland Police sergeant.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 23, 2020
Portland Police Sergeant Ken Duilio was recently terminated by Portland Public Schools with regard to his position as the Cleveland High School football coach. He was onboarded for the 2019 season and was informed that his contract would not be renewed.
This notice of termination also happens to coincide with pressure put on by locals against his appointment as a coach due to his being a PPD sergeant and the schools requesting his resignation weeks prior to him being informed that they weren’t going to renew his contract.
The athletic director for Portland Public Schools, Marshall Haskins, claimed that the reason for relieving Sergeant Duilio was because the school “chose to go in a different direction” for the 2020 season and that his termination had nothing to do with him being a part of the PPD.
According to Sergeant Duilio, he says that a group of individuals coordinated a slander campaign against him shortly after he spoke on June 26th at a news conference at the PPD’s North Precinct.
In the weeks following his appearance at the news conference at the precinct, fliers began to make the rounds throughout Portland making reference to two incidents involving Sergeant Duilio from 2001.
One incident noted on the fliers pertained to some sort of assault that took place outside of a downtown Portland restaurant. Sergeant Duilio was with two officers, who were all off-duty at the time, when five individuals believed to be gang affiliated attacked the three of them.
Two of the officers were hospitalized after the attack, while Sergeant Duilio was said to have been unharmed in the fray.
The flier managed to characterize the incident as though the three off-duty officers were “staggering drunk” and that they were challenging people on the street to a fight when the miscreants took “the dare and beaten the piss out of the three drunken off-duty cops.”
The second incident on the fliers involved the accidental shooting of Bruce Browne in July of 2001. Sergeant Duilio had responded to a call involving a man with a gun at a gas station on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Browne had already managed to wrestle the gun out of the assailant’s hands.
Support Ken Duilio and help him forward in his work with youth. High school football coach says he was smeared and fired because of his job as Portland police sergeant https://t.co/thbIMM6uga via @BIZPACReview
— James Elliott (@saorwngtsn) July 23, 2020
However, Sergeant Duilio had mistaken Browne to be the gunman when responding, and shot and wounded Browne. The shooting victim did survive the encounter, and the city settled a lawsuit with Browne for $200,000.
When the case was presented to a grand jury, they found that Sergeant Duilio had not engaged in any criminal activity with the accidental shooting. Yet, the police chief at the time, Mark Kroeker, did say that the incident was “regretful.”
Furthermore, Sergeant Duilio stated that the fliers circulating (which appear to have come from a website that published them in 2011) contains that the alleged facts displayed are “distorted” and that “there is more to it.”
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A week prior to Sergeant Duilio being officially relieved from his position at the school, he says that he was called into the school’s district office to discuss the incidents described on the flier.
During the discussion at the district office, Sergeant Duilio stated:
“[The school] didn’t see a path moving forward because of pressure they’re getting.”
That was when he was first asked to resign.
The police sergeant said that he declined to resign at that point, and later in the week he was asked to resign once again – and again, he declined.
Just one day after that second request to resign, Portland Public Schools decided to let him go. The way Sergeant Duilio sees things, he believes that the school shouldn’t have caved to the proverbial hecklers:
“It’s unjust, from whoever is leading this. PPS still had a role in it. They could have stood up to them.”
When asked whether there was any outside force that influenced the decision to remove Sergeant Duilio from his role as the football coach, Haskins claimed that was not the case:
“We don’t make decisions based on pressure from parents or outside people.”
The Portland Police Association’s president, Daryl Turner, explained that Sergeant Duilio has been a positive staple for his community and isn’t deserving of this treatment:
“He’s built relationships and partnerships with people and youth in the community. He lives in Portland, raises his family in Portland and has helped direct dozens of kids who may otherwise be going a different direction were they not playing football.”
Taking all things into consideration, Turner finds this termination to be a discriminatory act:
“It is a shame and unfair that they fired him based on the fact that he’s a Portland police officer. It is discriminatory and contrary to what they should be teaching kids in school.”
Scott Idler, president of Cleveland’s booster club, was rather befuddled with the decision to let go of Sergeant Duilio as the football coach. Aside from serving the Portland Police for 23 years, Sergeant Duilio also had a background in coaching football for eight years prior to being placed as the 2019 varsity coach at Cleveland High.
When asked whether he would ever consider coaching again after this experience, Sergeant Duilio stated the following:
“I’m at a loss for words, frankly. I love working with kids. Potentially, someday I’ll be back. I was committed to the PIL and PPS and city of Portland. It ties into what I do.”
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