A Republican city council member in Cranston, Rhode Island, has resigned after being charged with possession of a controlled narcotic.
Cranston Mayor Kenneth Hopkins, also a Republican, announced the resignation of Matthew R. Reilly, a 41-year-old attorney who was serving his second term on the city council, on Thursday. On Wednesday, police released body-cam footage showing Reilly being roused awake on Monday after passing out and “choking” in his car, with an apparent crack pipe in hand.
Bipartisan calls for Reilly to resign were mounting since news of his arrest on Monday. In a statement, Hopkins praised Reilly for resigning in the “interest of his constituents” and said that the move would allow the now-former councilman, a father of two, to focus on his family and “well-being.”
“Matt made the right decision to step down so that he can focus his full attention on his well-being and young family,” said Hopkins. “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 council members.”
“Upon reflection, Matt Reilly chose to put the interests of his constituents above his political interests,” he continued, while adding that the timeline for a special election to replace Reilly would be finalized “in the weeks ahead.”
While sharing the statement from Hopkins to Twitter, Rhode Island GOP Chairman Joe Powers said, “I applaud former Cranston Council Member Matthew Reilly for making the best decision for Ward 6 constituents by stepping down to focus on his family.”
Newsweek has reached out to Reilly via email for comment.
Reilly has been charged with one count of possession of a controlled narcotic and is scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment hearing on June 15.
In the video released on Wednesday, Reilly is seen being shaken awake by an officer who informs him he was “literally choking in [his] sleep.” Reilly explains that he has sleep apnea, prompting the officer to say that he also had “a crack pipe in [his] hands.”
A police press release says that Reilly “appeared disoriented” after waking up, with the officer feeling that he “showed signs of a potential overdose and needed to be evaluated.”
While the video shows Reilly insisting that there were no illicit drugs in his car, the officer found fentanyl-laced crack cocaine while searching the vehicle, police said. Reilly then said that he had been “clean for 13 years” but suffered “a relapse” that he attributed to a “really bad divorce.”
Reilly initially resisted calls to resign from the city council, although he did step down as chair of the local Republican Party after being urged to do so by Hopkins on Tuesday, according to Providence-based NBC station WJAR.