Newly released bodycam footage shows the moment Rhode Island police arrested a city councilman who was found sleeping in a car with cocaine and fentanyl, police say.
Cranston City Councilman Matthew Reilly, a Republican, was arrested Monday morning after a passerby tipped police off to a man who appeared to be having a medical episode in his car.
Reilly, 41, was found passed out in the driver’s seat, and an officer on scene told Reilly, “You have a crack pipe in your hands,” according to the bodycam footage. An officer observed that he appeared to have difficulty breathing or was choking, according to a police report.
Video released by the Cranston Police Department shows the officer shaking Reilly awake before searching him and his vehicle.
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“You were literally choking in your sleep,” the officer said. “Somebody literally sprinted and flagged me down because they thought you were choking.”
Reilly, who was the chairman of the Cranston Republican Party, appeared disoriented but was polite and cooperated with police as he was questioned. He initially denied having drugs in his car but later allegedly admitted to buying $100 worth of crack cocaine the day before.
Police said they discovered a “white, rock-like substance” inside a container found in the vehicle’s center console. The substance later tested positive for cocaine and fentanyl, according to police.
A search of the vehicle turned up additional drug paraphernalia, including a scouring pad, another pipe and tools used to scrape and prep the pipe, the police report said.
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“It was a relapse,” Reilly reportedly told police. “I’ve been clean for 13 years.”
“I just got back into this,” he was said to have added.
The bodycam footage shows Reilly receiving a medical evaluation before he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser.
He was charged with one count of possession of a Schedule 2 narcotic.
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Reilly resigned from the city council, Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins announced Thursday.
“Early this morning my office assisted Matt Reilly and filed his letter of resignation from the Cranston City Council as the Ward Six councilmember. Matt made the right decision to step down so that he can focus his full attention on his well-being and young family,” Hopkins said in a statement to WJAR.
“With this action, a difficult week for our city has closure and it allows our local government leaders to focus on their responsibilities and mission to proceed without the distraction of this unfortunate personal matter for one of our councilmembers,” the mayor said. “Upon reflection, Matt Reilly chose to put the interests of his constituents above his political interests.”
Reilly also resigned as chairman of the Cranston Republican Party on Tuesday.
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