March 10, 2016 after lunch time...It wasn't unusual for Charlie McGillivary to rush out of his mother's apartment to help others carry their groceries or hold a door open for neighbours.
The 46-year-old hadn't spoken aloud since a car accident when he was four that caused brain damage, his mother said. But the fact that he didn't talk didn't matter to most people at Pendrith Park, a three-storey Toronto Community Housing building
Because of his kind nature, some neighbours are unable to understand why he was arrested on Monday. He collapsed and died after a physical interaction with police a short walk away from his home.
Mr. McGillivary's death is being investigated by Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which is called in when there are cases of death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault involving police.
Toronto Police called the SIU at about 9:45 p.m. on Monday to the front of a pizza shop near Christie Street and Bloor Street West. Police had been investigating someone else before they began physically interacting with Mr. McGillivary at about 8:30 p.m., said SIU spokesman Frank Phillips. Shortly after, Mr. McGillivary collapsed and was rushed to Toronto Western Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"A physical interaction took place," said Mr. Phillips, adding that there are three subject officers in the case. "We're looking at what surrounded this."
Ann McGillivary said in an interview that she was walking with her son on Monday, as she did at least three times a day. As usual he was striding ahead of her. When she caught up with him near the pizza shop, she said, she could tell he was in trouble.
"His face turned blue and his eyes were already [rolling]," said Ms. McGillivary, adding that witnesses told her that her son was thrown onto the ground and handcuffed. "It was a heart attack from what I saw."