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21-year-old Kansas state legislator suspected of DUI weeks after domestic violence arrest

NBC News logo NBC News 11/30/2021 Marlene Lenthang
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Controversial Kansas state Rep. Aaron Coleman, 21, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence over the weekend, four weeks after he was arrested and charged with domestic battery, prompting legislators to renew calls for his resignation.

The Kansas State Highway Patrol arrested Coleman, a Democrat who represents Kansas City, on Interstate 70 at 1 a.m. Saturday. He was released later in the day on a $250 bond, Douglas County jail records show. 

At the time of the arrest, he was out on bond in connection with a misdemeanor domestic battery charge related to an incident involving his family on Oct. 30. He pleaded not guilty in Johnson County District Court and posted bond Nov. 2, according to court records.

In that incident, he is alleged to have spat on, hit and pushed his brother and then threatened to attack his grandfather, according to the court affidavit, NBC affiliate KSNT of Topeka reported. He is due back in court in the domestic violence case Dec. 22.

Coleman assumed office representing Kansas’ 37th District in the state House in January.

He faced scrutiny during the election for making incendiary comments on social media and past abusive behavior toward girls in middle school. When he was running, he said the allegations that he engaged in online bullying, blackmail and revenge porn were true, and he apologized for targeting several middle school girls. He said his past behavior was that of “a sick and troubled” 14-year-old.

In January, 13 Democrats filed a complaint in a bid to remove Coleman from office over his history of abusive behavior. A House committee, which determined that the allegations were true and that his conduct was "unfitting" for a lawmaker, issued a written warning.

Coleman was banned last month from state Labor Department property after we has accused of berating a police officer, the Kansas City Star reported.

His latest arrest drew scorn and calls for his resignation from his fellow legislators. 

Gov. Laura Kelly, a fellow Democrat, called on Coleman to step down.

"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 in a statement to KSNT. "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." 

House Democratic leader Tom Sawyer also urged Coleman to resign and seek help. “The stress of the legislature is not a health environment for someone in this mental state,” Sawyer said in a statement to KSNT. 

Coleman and his lawyer did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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