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CRANSTON

Cranston councilman arrested for having crack cocaine in his car, now facing calls to resign

City Council President Jessica Marino, a Democrat, said Wednesday that she had formally requested Reilly resign his position, “for his sake, for that of his family and for the city as a whole.”

Cranston City Councilman Matthew R. Reilly, left, is arrested Monday. Cranston Police Major Todd Patalano speaks to Reilly as he's being handcuffed.Video screenshot from Cranston, R.I., Police Department body-worn cameras

CRANSTON, R.I. — A Republican city councilman is facing calls to resign after police said they discovered him passed out in an SUV with a crack pipe in his hand and crack cocaine in the console.

Attorney Matthew R. Reilly, in his second term representing Ward 6, was arrested Monday after an officer found him unconscious and struggling to breathe, in a parking lot less than a mile from his home. As seen in video from a police body-worn camera, Reilly told a sergeant that he’d smoked crack cocaine “earlier” and had been on his way to work at Family Court.

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“You’re a councilman in Cranston smoking crack, with crack on you,” Sergeant Peter-John Leclerc said as Reilly shifted his feet. “What do you think the constituents would say?”

City Council President Jessica Marino, a Democrat, said Wednesday that she had formally requested Reilly resign his position, “for his sake, for that of his family and for the city as a whole.”

“Anyone that is going through the situation, my thoughts of his overall well-being as a human is first and foremost, and that of his family,” Marino told the Globe. “Politics should not be a priority in the situation that he’s currently facing.”

Reilly has already stepped down as chairman of the Cranston Republican Party, at the behest of Mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins. The mayor, a Republican, is also calling on Reilly to resign from the council, saying it’s necessary for Reilly and the residents of Ward 6.

Hopkins said he’s known Reilly and his family his entire life, and is thinking about him and his two young daughters. “By relieving himself of his elective duties, Matt will have time to focus his attentions on his personal well-being. It will allow him to focus on his family, away from the important responsibilities and spotlight of public office,” Hopkins said in a statement Wednesday.

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Reilly, 41, had run for office with a focus on making his native city a place that is “open for business.”

At midday Monday, Reilly was discovered unconscious in a parked SUV with its engine running, outside a hair salon at 911 Pontiac Ave. A passerby flagged down Officer Luis Collado, who found Reilly knocked out and appearing to be choking.

Collado opened the door and shook Reilly to wake him, and then noticed the crack pipe in his hand.

Reilly insisted that he was fine and that he had sleep apnea, and let Collado know that he was a city councilman. Then, in body-worn camera videos released by Cranston Police Wednesday, Reilly admitted that he’d smoked crack cocaine.

Reilly told the officers that he’d been in Narcotics Anonymous for 13 years, but was going through a bad divorce and had relapsed. He said he was getting help. “If you’re getting help, what happened?” Leclerc asked.

The police found crack cocaine in the vehicle’s center console. The driver’s seat had white residue, and the officers spoke on the video of a burnt smell in the vehicle’s interior.

Reilly is charged with unlawful possession of crack cocaine/fentanyl, which is a misdemeanor. He was released on his own recognizance for arraignment on June 15. He did not respond to a request for comment from the Globe Wednesday.

In the videos, as he was handcuffed, Reilly admitted that he has a problem. He told Major Todd Patalano that he was worried about his arrest becoming public and its effect on his children.

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“This is a terrible situation, we’re all in a tough spot, but we gotta do what we gotta do by the numbers. It’ll help you in the end, ... and you’ll say to us a month from now, ‘Best thing that ever happened to me,’” Patalano said to Reilly. “You can’t go down this road anymore. God forbid, we find you dead.

“I look at you -- you’re not the Matt Reilly we know,” the police major added. “Your health and your well-being is worth more than your political career.”


Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her @AmandaMilkovits.