Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence Saturday morning, his second arrest in less than a month.
The Kansas Highway Patrol arrested Coleman, a Democrat in Kansas City, Kansas, at 1 Saturday at mile marker 203 on westbound Interstate 70, according to Douglas County jail records.
Coleman, who was out on bail from an arrest last month, was booked into the Douglas County Jail and released on $ 250 in bail on Saturday at 6 p.m. 13.37
This appears to be Coleman’s first DUI arrest. Under Kansas law, Coleman could face no less than 48 hours of continuous imprisonment or 100 hours of public service at the discretion of the court.
The arrest, the latest in a pattern of alleged erratic or abusive behavior by the 21-year-old lawmaker, led to new calls for his resignation.
House Speaker Ron Ryckman told the public for the first time that Coleman should resign on Sunday.
“Mr Coleman’s actions continue to be detrimental to himself and others, and most importantly to the people who elected him to represent them,” Ryckman, an Olathe Republican, said in a text message.
“I hope the voters recognize this and that Mr Coleman will step down to get the services he needs.”
Ryckman had previously expressed concern about Coleman’s well-being and behavior, but stopped asking for his resignation, even though the House Democrats have sought to be ousted.
“He should step down and concentrate on getting the help he so desperately needs,” House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, a Wichita Democrat, said in a statement. “The stress of the Legislature is not a healthy environment for anyone in this mental state.”
Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, said Sunday that the Legislature should remove Coleman from office if he does not resign on his own.
“Mr. Coleman’s recent arrest is further evidence that he is not fit to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives and that his continued presence in the Legislature is a disservice to his constituents,” Kelly said in a statement.
Coleman was arrested last month and charged with misdemeanor in Johnson County District Court for allegedly spitting, punching and pushing his brother before threatening to attack his grandfather. He is scheduled for a diversion hearing next month, indicating he can reach an agreement with prosecutors instead of being put on trial.
He was ordered by a Johnson County judge to undergo a mental health evaluation and said on Twitter last week that he was participating in therapy. A DUI would be a violation of his binding, which prohibited the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Hours before his arrest in Douglas County, Coleman attacked other Democratic members of the House of Representatives in Kansas. on Twitter. As part of a thread that started with criticism of Johnson County Jail, Coleman called for Sawyer and the rep. Brandon Woodard was expelled. He also criticized Woodard and Rep. Vic Miller, a Topeka Democrat, for previous DUI convictions. Miller was arrested for a DUI in 2019 while serving in the Senate. Woodard was arrested for two DUIs before being elected.
Coleman did not immediately respond to The Star’s request for comment Sunday night.
The domestic battery arrest prompted renewed Coleman to resign, and a coalition of female lawmakers promised to try to oust him if he remains in office.
The lawmaker has been repeatedly accused of inappropriate behavior, including by an ex-girlfriend who said he beat and strangled her.
The newly trained legislator faced a legislative inquiry earlier this year into allegations of misconduct, but the inquiry committee ultimately issued only an informal warning letter. At the time, lawmakers involved in the investigation noted that the alleged conduct had occurred before he was elected.
His arrest last month renewed calls for a new investigation and expulsion of the legislator; this time for action that took place after he had already taken office.
Coleman broke into Kansas politics in 2020 with an outraged primary defeat to the rep. Stan Frownfelter in Kansas City, Kansas. Allegations of abusive behavior were made public, but Coleman, who was running in a strong Democratic district, met no Republican opponent on the ballot.
Another Democrat, Faith Rivera, has already announced plans to challenge Coleman to 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 it repeatedly tried to access parts of the building that were for staff only.
Before Coleman took office in early 2021, seven incoming Democratic lawmakers – all women – urged him to resign. They demanded that Coleman be held “responsible for violence against women.”
The same lawmakers and House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer renewed their calls for Coleman’s resignation following his arrest.
Coleman has previously been under a temporary order not to communicate with the former campaign manager for a political opponent. She said Coleman sent her harassing messages, came to her home twice and tried to get her thrown out. A former employee of 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 on you that it’s right,” he tweeted. He later deleted the tweet.
Coleman is the third lawmaker in Kansas to face charges of criminal misconduct this year. Rep. Mark Samsel, a Republican from Wellsville, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after allegedly kicking a student in the groin while teaching as a substitute. And Senator 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 Stars Jonathan Shorman contributed to this report.
This story was originally published November 28, 2021 at 18.50.