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Charlie McGillivary died on Monday, August 1, 2011, following a physical interaction with police in Toronto, according to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which is probing the interaction and death. This photo, provided by his mother Ann McGillivary, was taken less than a month before his death.HANDOUT

A candlelight vigil will be held Monday for Charlie McGillivary in the same spot where he collapsed a week earlier and later died following his arrest and physical interaction with Toronto police.

Ann McGillivary said the police at the scene didn't listen to her pleas and explanations that her 46-year-old son was unable to speak, the result of a car accident when he was four that left him brain damaged.

"Even though he couldn't speak, he didn't have a voice, he's a person," said vigil organizer Karlene Steer, who is a tenant representative in the Toronto Community Housing building where Mr. McGillivary lived with his mother. "It's our way of giving our respect."

The mother and son had been on one of their daily walks last Monday. As usual, Mr. McGillivary was striding ahead and his mother said she saw that he was in trouble when she caught up to the pizza shop at Bloor Street West and Christie Street. His eyes were rolling and his face had turned blue after witnesses told her he was thrown to the ground, Ms. McGillivary said.

Toronto police are directing all questions to Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit, while they investigate the death. The SIU is involved when there are cases of death, serious injury or allegations of sexual assault involving police.

There are three subject officers and late last week, spokesperson Frank Phillips said five witnesses had come forward and another had indicated they had video of the interaction.

Ms. McGillivary said she believes her son died on the street, of a heart attack, at about 8:30 p.m.

One week later, to the minute, a crowd of more than 100 people are expected to gather with candles and roses at the same spot to remember Mr. McGillivary. The death has baffled his friends and neighbours, who remember him rushing to carry their groceries or hold a door open.

"It will help bring back memories for people who saw what happened," said Ms. Steer on Sunday before she went to put posters up on Bloor Street West in areas where Mr. McGillivary regularly walked with his mother.

Organizers have invited residents of the McGillivary's apartment building, Pendrith Park, other neighbours and local politicians including NDP member of parliament Olivia Chow, city councillor Mike Layton and NDP MPP Rosario Marchese.

In a letter sent last Thursday to Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, Mr. Marchese said the death has greatly affected the neighbourhood.

"Something is wrong with that kind of scenario," he said in an interview. "I don't think the community feels assured that when the police confront this type of an individual, that they know what they're doing."

In his letter, Mr. Marchese wrote that his riding includes many people with disabilities, some that are readily apparent and others that can't be noticed right away. He asked if there will be a review of procedures regarding disabilities.

"We're all looking for answers," he said.