Article updated at 7:52, 8:59 p.m. Sunday:
Kansas Rep. Aaron Coleman, of Kansas City, was arrested Saturday in Douglas County on suspicion of driving under the influence, jail records show.
Coleman, a 21-year-old Democrat, has made headlines lately for a domestic violence case he is facing in Johnson County.
The Kansas Highway Patrol arrested Coleman at 1 a.m. Saturday at milemarker 203 on westbound Interstate 70, according to Douglas County jail records. That’s about a mile east of the interchange at McDonald Drive.
In the 2020 primary election, Coleman defeated seven-term incumbent Democratic state Rep. Stan Frownfelter by 14 votes. Coleman easily won the general election in the Wyandotte County district.
In 2015, Coleman was arrested at age 14 for threatening to shoot a girl at another high school. He entered a guilty plea to misdemeanor harassment, the Kansas Reflector reported. A former girlfriend of Coleman’s said in 2019 that he choked her twice and urged her to commit suicide.
The Reflector reported that after Coleman won the House seat, seven female Democratic legislators signed a letter urging him to resign. Coleman declined to quit. A subsequent Kansas House inquiry into his behavior led by Republican lawmakers resulted in issuance of a reprimand. Democratic leadership also refused to assign him to House committees.
In October, the Kansas News Service reported, Coleman allegedly pushed his brother, spit on him and hit him in the chest before Overland Park police placed Coleman under arrest, according to an affidavit supporting the misdemeanor charge.
Coleman was released on a $250 bond around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, and he has a court appearance set for 3 p.m. Dec. 28, jail records show. He did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Sunday.
House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, a Democrat from Wichita, sent out a statement on Coleman’s arrest Sunday evening.
“I want to reiterate what I have said in the past: It is clear Representative Coleman is in dire need of help,” Sawyer said. “For the sake of the state of Kansas, his constituents, and himself, he should resign and concentrate on getting the help he badly needs. The stress of the legislature is not a healthy environment for someone in this mental state.”
Gov. Laura Kelly, too, called for Coleman’s resignation, according to the Kansas Reflector.
“Mr. Coleman’s most 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. “He should resign immediately and seek the treatment that he needs. If he does not resign, the Legislature should use its process to remove him from office.”
All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.