Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman arrested on suspicion of DUI on Saturday morning




  • In US
  • 2021-11-29 00:50:26Z
  • By Kansas City Star
 

Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Saturday morning, making it his second arrest in just the last few weeks.

The Kansas Highway Patrol arrested Coleman, a Kansas City, Kansas, Democrat, at 1 a.m. Saturday at mile marker 203 on westbound Interstate 70, according to Douglas County jail records.

Coleman, who was out on bond from an arrest last month, was booked into the Douglas County Jail and was released on $250 bond Saturday at 1:37 p.m.

This appears to be Coleman's first DUI arrest. Under Kansas Law Coleman could face no less than 48 consecutive hours imprisonment or 100 hour of public service at the court's discretion.

The arrest appears to be the latest in a pattern of alleged erratic and abusive behavior by the 21-year-old lawmaker.

Coleman was arrested last month and charged with misdemeanor battery in Johnson County District Court for allegedly spitting on, hitting and pushing his brother before threatening to attack his grandfather. He is scheduled for a diversion hearing next month, indicating he may reach a deal with prosecutors rather than face trial.

He was ordered by a Johnson County judge to undergo a mental health evaluation and said on Twitter last week he was attending therapy. A DUI would be a violation of Coleman's bond which prohibited consumption of alcohol or drugs.

The day before his Douglas County arrest, Coleman attacked fellow Democratic members of the Kansas House of Representatives on Twitter. He called for Majority Leader Tom Sawyer and Rep. Brandon Woodard to be expelled. He also criticized Woodard and Rep. Vic Miller, a Topeka Democrat, for previous DUI convictions.

Coleman did not immediately respond to The Star's request for comment Sunday night.

The domestic battery arrest renewed calls for Coleman to resign and a coalition of female lawmakers pledged to attempt to oust Coleman if he remains in office.

The lawmaker has been accused multiple times of inappropriate behavior, including by a former girlfriend who said he slapped and choked her.

The freshman lawmaker faced a legislative inquiry earlier this year over allegations of inappropriate behavior, but the investigating committee ultimately issued only an informal letter of warning that amounted to a mild reprimand. At the time, lawmakers involved in the inquiry noted that the alleged behavior had occurred before he was elected.

His arrest last month renewed calls for a new inquiry and the expulsion of the lawmaker; this time, for action that occurred after he had already taken office.

Coleman broke into Kansas politics in 2020 with an upset primary defeat of Rep. Stan Frownfelter in Kansas City, Kansas. Allegations of abusive behavior were made public, but Coleman, running in a heavily Democratic district, faced no Republican opponent on the ballot.

Another Democrat, Faith Rivera, has already announced plans to challenge Coleman for his seat next year.

Earlier in October, the Kansas Department of Labor warned Coleman to stay away from its Topeka headquarters after the agency said he repeatedly tried to gain access to employee-only parts of the building.

Before Coleman took office in early 2021, seven incoming Democratic legislators - all women - called on him to resign. They demanded Coleman face "accountability for violence against women."

The same lawmakers and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer renewed their calls for Coleman's resignation after his arrest.

Coleman has previously been under a temporary order not to communicate with the former campaign manager of a political opponent. She said Coleman sent her harassing messages, came to her home twice and tried to get her evicted. A former staff member in Sawyer's office has also described threats Coleman made against her and that he had called her and threatened physical violence against Sawyer before the election.

Coleman has previously tweeted that Gov. Laura Kelly would face an "extremely bloody" Democratic primary. "People will realize one day when I call a hit out on you it's real," he tweeted. He later deleted the tweet.

Coleman is the third Kansas legislator to face allegations of criminal conduct this year. Rep. Mark Samsel, a Wellsville Republican, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he allegedly kicked a student in the groin while substitute teaching. And Sen. Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, drove the wrong way down Interstate 70 in Topeka while drunk. He pleaded guilty in October to driving under the influence and reckless driving.

All three remain in office.

The Star's Jonathan Shorman contributed to this report.

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