‘I Have Sleep Apnea’: Bodycam Footage Shows City Council Member Trying To Explain Away Crack Pipe

[Screenshot/YouTube/NBC 10 WJAR]

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A Rhode Island city council member resigned Thursday after police reportedly found him passed out behind the wheel of his car with a crack pipe in his hand on Monday.

Cranston City Council member Matthew R. Reilly faced calls to resign after video footage surfaced showing his Monday arrest. Police officers found him unconscious and struggling to breathe behind the wheel of his car, allegedly with a crack pipe in his hand, The Boston Globe reported.

In the released bodycam footage, the officer explains to Reilly that someone flagged him down thinking the councilman was choking or suffering from a heart attack. “I have sleep apnea, I’m sorry,” Reilly explains. To which the officer replies, “You have a crack pipe in your hands.”


Upon further inspection of Reilly’s vehicle, police reportedly found crack cocaine inside, leading the councilman to later admit that he had purchased $100 worth of the drug the day before and smoked it “earlier” explaining to the officer he was on his way back from court. (RELATED: Biden Admin Is Funding Drug Supply Vending Machines In Rural Kentucky)

“You’re a councilman in Cranston smoking crack, with crack on you,” Sergeant Peter-John Leclerc posed to Reilly, according to the Boston Globe.“What do you think the constituents would say?” Reilly replied that he was “getting help” to which the officer replied, “If you’re getting help, what happened?”

“It was a relapse,” Reilly admitted in the bodycam footage, “I’ve been clean for 13 years.”

City Council President Jessica Marino, a Democrat, urged Reilly to resign in the wake of his arrest “for his sake, for that of his family and for the city as a whole,” telling the Boston Globe that Reilly’s well-being was first and foremost in her thoughts. “Politics should not be a priority in the situation that he’s currently facing.” (RELATED: Democrat Blocks Bipartisan Bill Banning Funding For Crack Pipe, Drug Paraphernalia Distribution)

Those sentiments were echoed by Republican mayor Kenneth J. Hopkins, who also urged Reilly to resign. Hopkins, who revealed to the outlet he had known Reilly and his family his whole life, said he hoped by stepping down it would allow the councilman to focus his attentions on his personal well-being and that of his family.

Upon his arrest, Reilly voiced concern over what the scandal would mean for his family and his career as a politician. Major Todd Patalano reminded Reilly that his health was more important than his political career.

“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, according to the Boston Globe. “You can’t go down this road anymore. God forbid, we find you dead.”

Reilly, who has been charged with the misdemeanor of unlawful possession of crack cocaine/fentanyl, initially stepped down as the chair for the Cranston Republican Party but had yet to resign his seat on the city council, according to The Boston Globe. Reilly offered up his letter of resignation May 18.

“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,” Hopkins said of the resignation, according to the Providence Journal.

“Upon reflection, Matt Reilly chose to put the interests of his constituents above his political interests,” he added.