Rhode Island councilman faces calls to resign after footage of drug arrest released
CRANSTON, R.I. - A Rhode Island city council member and former chair of the local Republican Party is facing calls to resign after he was found sleeping in his car with a crack pipe in hand.
According to local reports, a passerby in Cranston, Rhode Island, saw a man possibly choking in his car Monday and alerted an officer nearby. When police arrived, "he appeared to be sleeping or unconscious while having difficulty breathing/choking," arrest reports state.
The responding officer had to shake the man to wake him up, then noticed a glass pipe and a lighter in his hand. The man, who identified himself as Cranston City Council Member Matthew Reilly, said he had smoked crack hours earlier.
Body camera video released by the Cranston Police Department shows Reilly telling officers that he had not done drugs in the vehicle, but investigators say they found cocaine and fentanyl in the car, the Cranston Herald reports.
Reilly can be heard in the video identifying himself as a council member, at which point the officer says, "You’re a councilman in Cranston, smoking crack, with crack on you."
"What do you think the constituents would say?" the officer asks.
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Reilly said he had been clean for 13 years, but relapsed recently after a bad divorce.
He was arrested on drug charges and has since resigned as chairman of the Cranston Republican Party, according to WLNE. The city council president has requested Reilly’s resignation.
"I have known Matt and the Reilly family his entire life," Cranston Mayor Ken Hopkins said in a prepared statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with him and his two young daughters. My hope is Matt will get whatever care and attention he needs for his own well-being. This is a serious matter … everyone should allow the court system and judicial process to work towards an appropriate resolution."