Embattled Rep. Aaron Coleman arrested for alleged driving under the influence Saturday morning

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Rep. Aaron Coleman, D-Kansas City, Kan., was arrested for alleged driving under the influence Saturday morning, Douglas County jail records show, just weeks after the embattled lawmaker was arrested and charged with domestic battery.
Rep. Aaron Coleman, D-Kansas City, Kan., was arrested for alleged driving under the influence Saturday morning, Douglas County jail records show, just weeks after the embattled lawmaker was arrested and charged with domestic battery.

Rep. Aaron Coleman, D-Kansas City, Kan., was arrested for alleged driving under the influence Saturday morning in Douglas County, just weeks after the embattled lawmaker was arrested and charged with domestic battery.

Coleman was booked into the Douglas County jail at 1 a.m. Saturday, jail records show, and charged with one count of misdemeanor driving under the influence. The booking report shows Coleman was stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol at mile marker 203 of Interstate 70, headed westbound.

Coleman was released on a $250 bond, jail records show. He did not answer a phone call seeking comment Sunday evening.

The event comes after Coleman was arrested and charged 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.

More: Aaron Coleman 'extremely erratic' during arrest, allegedly hit brother, according to affidavits

Coleman pleaded not guilty to the charge during his initial appearance earlier this month via his attorney. His case was set to be considered for diversion at a hearing in December, meaning the charges could be dropped if Coleman met a series of conditions, though it is unclear how his DUI arrest will affect that.

A court ordered Coleman undergo a mental health evaluation as a condition of his release. Coleman's lawyer said during the initial appearance that his family "are going to seek help for Mr. Coleman and some of the issues he is facing."

Coleman appeared to indicate in a series of social media posts Friday that he was participating in therapy but also launched into a tirade where he threatened to seek the expulsion of House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer and two other Democratic colleagues.

House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, said in a statement that Coleman should resign.

"Mr. Coleman's actions continue to be a detriment to himself and others, and most importantly to the people who elected him to represent them," Ryckman said. "I hope his constituents recognize this and that Mr. Coleman will step down to get the services he needs."

Sawyer has previously called on Coleman to resign, a sentiment he reiterated in a statement Sunday.

"For the sake of the state of Kansas, his constituents, and himself, he should resign and concentrate on getting the help he badly needs," Sawyer said. "The stress of the legislature is not a healthy environment for someone in this mental state.”

And Gov. Laura Kelly echoed that sentiment in a statement, saying his behavior is further evidence that he "is not fit to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives," again calling on Coleman to resign and, if he does not, "the Legislature should use its process to remove him from office."

Coleman was reprimanded but not formally disciplined last session by a Kansas House committee for behavior prior to his election as a legislator, including allegations of harassment, bullying and stalking. The panel dismissed charges on the grounds that the actions took place before the first-term lawmaker assumed office.

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."

During the August 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 Gov. Laura Kelly for her reluctance to support progressive policies. Coleman said that he meant to say "political hit" and later admitted he should have used different wording.

It is possible attempts will again be made to remove Coleman from office, though that is not a straightforward process. A legislator would need to file a formal complaint, with the speaker of the Kansas House then charged with convening a committee to investigate the matter at hand.

A group of Democratic lawmakers have been weighing such a complaint, though it is unclear when it might be filed.

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: Kansas lawmaker Aaron Coleman accused of driving under the influence

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