Kansas state Rep. Coleman arrested, jailed on domestic violence allegation

House Democratic leader calls arrest ‘extremely disturbing news’

By: - October 31, 2021 1:39 pm
Rep. Aaron Coleman, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, was arrested Sunday on a charge of domestic violence. This statehouse office photograph was for an interview about a his bill requiring taping of conversations between legislators and lobbyists. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Rep. Aaron Coleman, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, was arrested Sunday on a charge of domestic violence. This statehouse office photograph was for an interview about a his bill requiring taping of conversations between legislators and lobbyists. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — State Rep. Aaron Coleman was booked into the Johnson County Jail on Sunday on a charge of domestic battery.

Johnson County Jail records indicate he was placed into custody without bond and was scheduled to make a court appearance at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer, who previously demanded Coleman resign, said the arrest of Coleman was “extremely disturbing news” and he said the next step was to gather facts of what allegedly occurred.

“His constituents and the state of Kansas would be better served if he were to resign and get the help he badly needs,” Sawyer said. “However, I want to reiterate again that the House Democratic caucus does not condone this behavior in any way, shape or form.”

Coleman, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, previously apologized for a series of incidents during his childhood that involved online bullying, revenge porn, blackmail and death threats.

In October, he confirmed he was banned from offices of the Kansas Department of Labor after insisting that he be allowed inside a Topeka office. He said he was seeking to help constituents with problems getting unemployment benefits. In addition, he said his status as a state legislator ought to allow the Department of Labor to lower its security protocol.

In the 2020 election, Coleman defeated seven-term incumbent Democratic state Rep. Stan Frownfelter, losing to the teenager by 14 votes. Coleman easily won the general election in the Wyandotte County district.

His underdog campaign centered on adoption of the Green New Deal, legalizing marijuana, expanding Medicare services, women’s rights, free college tuition and reallocating police budgets. He was a fan of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the former candidate for president.

During that 2020 race, Coleman generated controversy by declaring he would find it amusing if people who refused to wear a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic died as a result.

A Wyandotte County judge issued a temporary anti-stalking order against Coleman in 2020 that applied to Frownfelter’s campaign manager.

After Coleman won the House seat, seven female Democratic legislators signed a letter urging Coleman 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.

Coleman had campaigned for Kansas governor as a write-in independent candidate in 2018. A year later he sought a seat on the board of public utilities in in Kansas City, Kansas.

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. A former girlfriend of Coleman’s said in 2019 that he choked her twice and urged her to commit suicide.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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