Orlando Bowen
Orlando Bowen

Run in with cops gave Orlando Bowen new focus

By Admin Friday February 03 2012 in News
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5)
Loading ... Loading ...


Former Toronto Argonauts linebacker, Orlando Bowen, was beaten by two Peel police officers in a Mississauga restaurant parking lot some eight years ago which left him with a concussion, a nasty gash on his forehead and blackened eyes.


Bowen alleged at the time that one of the officers planted drugs on him.


The cop was found guilty of seven criminal charges in June 2010, including charges related to the disappearance of fake cocaine that was being used in an RCMP sting and is currently serving a sentence of almost six years in a federal jail.


Bowen was acquitted of drugs and assaulting police charges and a $14.6 million lawsuit he filed against the Peel Regional Police and several officers was settled out of court.


The harrowing ordeal might have scarred Bowen, but it did not break his spirit or deter him from pursuing his passion of working with young people.


Now the executive director of One Voice, One Team, which empowers young people to utilize their leadership gifts and talents through sport and fun activities, he joins 27 other aspiring city builders in a year-long DiverseCity Fellows leadership and networking program.


“I am definitely humbled to be in such esteemed company,” Bowen says. “The quality, talent and accomplishments of the group are simply amazing. It’s also an honour to know that an organization like ours, which is passionate about engaging youths, is recognized as an important piece of how we can move the Greater Toronto Area forward.”


Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Bowen was brought to Toronto at age three and attended Brampton Centennial Secondary School where he excelled in basketball, soccer, football and track and field. He earned a full scholarship to Northern Illinois University where he secured a business marketing degree and a Master of Science degree in Information Technology Management.


He spent five seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Argos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats before the concussion he suffered at the hands of the police forced him to quit the sport.


“I learned a lot of things from that incident,” he said. “I learned what it means to feel alone, what it means to feel like nobody in the world could possibly understand what you are going through and also what it means to feel under-valued or less than human.”


Bowen, who is also a motivational speaker, said the nightmare was a blessing in disguise.


“It gave me real perspective and added a significant element of understanding to the work we do as an organization,” he said. “I was able to relate to young people on a whole different level. I was connecting with them before, but now it’s on a whole new level. It also made me a better father, husband and community advocate.”


This year’s distinguished group of Fellows which was unveiled last week also includes Jabari Lindsay and Okeima Lawrence.


A graduate of Humber College’s Social Service Worker Program, Lindsay is a project manager with the City of Toronto.


“I have been working with the city since 2000, trying to help young people become engaged in the real world,” Lindsay said. “My parents are immigrants from Grenada and it means a lot for them to see one of their children fully involved in the lives of other youths. They are proud of that and the fact that I am now being identified as a city builder.”


A United Way of Greater Toronto community investment manager, Lawrence is a youth advocate and the youngest member ever of the Toronto Public Library board.


DiverseCity co-chair John Tory said this year’s Fellows bring a lot to the table.


“This is a group to watch,” he said. “They are bringing solutions and new perspectives to the increasingly complex issues facing our city region.”


Over the next year, the Fellows will be paired with mentors, meet with emerging and established leaders, assess their own leadership skills and work in multi-sectoral teams to address city-building challenges.


The action-oriented leadership development program for rising city builders was launched four years ago. It comprises four integrated streams of activities – interactive learning sessions, network connections, a mentoring relationship and city-building projects.




  • Dennis said:

    Once again a white collared black man victimized by police, details of the officer out of sight & mind, as well as the case. Remember this took 8 years for justice to be obtained, yet no info that would have readily been available had Mr. Bowen assaulted and planted drugs on the officer. This continues constantly in Canada, on one hand we educate people who are victims to speak up, come forward, silence well only perpetuate the crime. On the another hand when you’re victimized by police who are even found guilty you are banned, barred and forever SILENCED!
    Had this crime happened to a blue collared black man, it would have been the black man in jailed found guilty serving 12 years. This form of systematic intellectual racism is deep rooted in Canada, especially within our media outlets. How long will they kill abuse, and assault black people while stands aside and look and be silent

    Wednesday February 08 at 2:25 pm
  • Chris Hill said:

    Re: Bankruptcy and citizenship.. This is a nasty plot against a black man that must be disrupted. Do you part to ensure that justice is done if it ever comes to a courtroom

    Case Scenario
    Client is a naturalized Canadian. Migrated to Canada as a teen (as a permanent resident in the family class), completed secondary and post secondary studies.

    Over several years, client opened various credit accounts and also has a student loan outstanding. Client also applied for and was granted Canadian citizenship. NB: Client has been in Canada almost 13 years.

    In 2011, client was sent to work at a company unaware that this business operates accounts for several of his creditors, above the immigration department in Etobicoke, and later learned on the street that he had to be brain imaged and mind scanned to become a permanent resident.

    Note well, client is a naturalized Canadian and has never been informed officially by CIC, but through rumours in public, began hearing that he might have been stripped of his citizenship and under a removal order, all without his knowledge.Really? Is that possible?

    Client also heard rumours that he was only a student and did not have the right to use credit or to become a permanent resident without being mind scanned.

    Question: Can a client be sued or bank fraud charges if he/she becomes bankrupt under the above scenario, years after the fact if he was not officially informed? Is evidence collected through these means admissible in a court of law?

    Please utilize your resources in order that no more black males become victims of such nasty schemes in the future.

    NB: This is a hypothetical but we must maintain vigilance as there are people working over time to perpetrate this type of injustice.

    Real names withheld for now.. Consider for future editorial as well

    Monday February 13 at 5:18 pm
  • kofi said:

    I’m glad to hear that Orlando turned a horrific incident into a character building one. Its unfortunate that instances like this happen in our community.
    But when they do we should learn from this situation and and use it to build our intestinal fortitude. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but things like this are going to happen again.
    Yes it is important that we do all we can to prevent things like this from happening in the future, but when they do let’s grow and become stronger from it.
    I am a former athlete and sports have taught me that things are not always going to go exactly as planned, and that you must use certain down times to develop on the inside out.
    “It’s not what happens to us, its how we respond to that which happens”.

    Friday July 27 at 7:18 pm
  • Lilli said:

    Interesting! a similar incident occurred with my 20 yr old son, attending UOIT, Oshawa. The assault and violent beating was carried out by the Oshawa/Durham police who laid false charges against him. But justice has been and will be served!

    Thursday February 07 at 4:17 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>