Rep. Aaron Coleman charged with traffic infractions in Douglas County incident; faces 'no further charges'




  • In US
  • 2022-01-28 18:22:04Z
  • By The Topeka Capital-Journal
Rep.
Rep.  

Rep. Aaron Coleman has been charged with two traffic infractions in relation to a November traffic stop, where the legislator was initially arrested for allegedly driving under the influence.

But a spokesperson for the district attorney's office in Douglas County indicated Coleman won't be charged with a DUI related to the Nov. 27 stop by the Kansas Highway Patrol near Lawrence on the Kansas Turnpike.

On Jan. 21, prosecutors in Douglas County did charge Coleman with speeding and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle. Court documents allege Coleman was traveling at 92-miles-per-hour in a 75 mile-per-hour zone when he was stopped by police.

More: Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman hasn't been charged as DA awaits KHP case file and KBI test results

A trooper attempted to pull over a speeding vehicle, a Kansas Highway Patrol spokesperson said at the time, but the driver didn't stop until exiting the interstate and pulling into a parking lot. There, the trooper "observed signs of possible impairment."

In court filings last month, prosecutors in Douglas County said they were waiting on the results of blood tests performed by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation before moving forward.

But Jill Jess, a spokesperson for the Douglas County District Attorney's office, indicated Coleman wouldn't be charged with a DUI.

"Mr. Coleman faces no further charges in Douglas County at this time," Jess said in an email.

In response to a request for more details, Jess referred The Capital-Journal to the Kansas Highway Patrol. A spokesperson for KHP said they couldn't comment on the matter and directed inquiries to the district attorney's office.

In a text message to The Capital-Journal in December, Coleman insisted the "blood draw will exonerate me" and said he was going to the Statehouse at the time of his arrest, though he didn't elaborate on why.

Coleman and his attorney, David Bell, didn't immediately return a request for comment. He is set to be arraigned on the traffic infractions on April 15.

Coleman to have hearing in Johnson County case next week

The Douglas County charges come after Coleman was arrested and charged in Johnson County with misdemeanor domestic battery stemming from an altercation with his brother, where police records show the 21-year-old lawmaker allegedly hit and spit on his brother and made threatening remarks to his grandfather.

The charges in Douglas County initially appeared to damage his chances of getting diversion in the Johnson County case, where a set agreement between Coleman and prosecutors could be struck to dismiss charges as long as the 21-year-old complied with a set of restrictions.

More: Lawbreaking lawmakers remain in Kansas Legislature. Colleagues want to kick an accused one out.

But earlier this month, prosecutors in Johnson County withdrew a motion to revoke bond, potentially allowing him to receive diversion. Coleman is set to have a hearing in that case next week and has pleaded not guilty.

A group of Democratic lawmakers filed a complaint against Coleman after his arrest in Douglas County, seeking his removal from the Legislature.

A committee has been formed to investigate the matter, but Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, who chairs that panel has said he wants to wait until Coleman's legal issues have been dealt with.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the panel can recommend he be expelled, censured or that no action be taken. A previous investigation of past alleged misconduct resulted in Coleman being issued a warning against future misbehavior.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, Gov. Laura Kelly and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer have all called on Coleman to resign.

Joseph Le, chief of staff for Sawyer, said in a statement Friday that "we don't see anything new here" and stood by the previous calls on Coleman to resign and receive mental health treatment.

Arrests latest in string of incidents for Rep. Aaron Coleman

The 2021 arrests are the latest in a string of incidents for the embattled legislator.

In October, the Kansas Department of Labor advised Coleman he was banned from their Topeka headquarters after allegedly attempting to access an employee-only area of the building and speaking to building security in a in a "loud and demanding tone."

More: Rep. Aaron Coleman banned from KDOL premises after 'disruptive, intimidating and berating' behavior

During the August 2020 partisan primary against former Rep. Stan Frownfelter last year, Coleman admitted to cyberbullying and revenge porn while in middle school, gaining national attention in the process.

After Coleman defeated Frownfelter in the primary, an ex-girlfriend later came forward alleging he abused her, both physically and verbally, while the pair dated in 2019 and that the harassment continued until his Kansas House bid in 2020. The Topeka woman said Coleman physically assaulted and threatened to kill her during their two-month relationship.

Coleman was the subject of a restraining order from a staffer who worked for a former political rival, although the matter was settled and dropped by mutual agreement earlier this year.

And legislators from both parties objected to Coleman saying a "hit" needed to be taken out on Kelly for her reluctance to support progressive policies. Coleman said he meant to say "political hit" and later admitted he should have used different wording.

Andrew Bahl is a senior statehouse reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at abahl@gannett.com or by phone at 443-979-6100.

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Aaron Coleman charged with traffic infractions in Douglas County stop

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