A Las Vegas police officer faces criminal charges after several women he met on the job accused him of abusing his authority to intimidate and sexually harass them.
Solomon Coleman, a five-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, was charged with a felony, oppression under color of law, and two gross misdemeanors, gross lewdness and taking pictures of a person’s private area, according to court documents filed Friday in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Coleman has been suspended for two months pending outcome of the criminal and internal investigations.
Police said he developed a pattern of starting “relationships” with women he met at crime scenes and on routine calls, according to a report filed by Metro detectives. Some of the misconduct is said to have occurred more than a year ago, with the most recent encounter allegedly just days before his suspension.
Coleman, 28, is not in custody but has been ordered to appear Thursday morning in Justice Court.
At least five women have been identified, and police believe there could be others.
The investigation began in June after a domestic violence victim complained about his behavior.
The woman said Coleman stayed at her home after other officers took her boyfriend to jail. A female officer had already taken photos of bruises on her neck, arms and back, but Coleman said he also needed to “check for bruises on her ass,” the report said.
The woman told Coleman she didn’t have bruises there, but he “insisted on checking anyway,” the report said. She said Coleman pulled down her shorts and underwear to her knees.
He then asked her to bend over on the bed so he could check her, the woman told police.
“At this point she felt uncomfortable and unsafe and felt obligated to do what he asked,” the report said. She “felt if she did not comply, that the officer would do something to her.”
The woman said she complained to Coleman, but the officer grabbed his groin and said, “See what you do to me? You’re making me hard,” the report said.
At one point the woman’s 5-year-old son walked in and saw Coleman with his mother. The boy told detectives the officer “told his mom to pull down her pants so he could see her bruises,” the report said. The officer took the boy to another room to watch television, the report said.
Coleman then went into the bathroom, exposed himself and asked her “if she liked it” and “if it was big,” the woman said. He told her he’d come back in a few hours, after his shift ended. She refused to open the door when he returned, she said.
She thought Coleman had taken explicit photos of her with his cell phone, but she wasn’t sure, the report said.
Detectives checked Coleman’s patrol log, which showed the officer left her home 36 minutes after his fellow officers.
After the first complaint, investigators dug through Coleman’s cell phone records and patrol logs. They found another victim, but she wasn’t even aware of what happened.
Coleman used his phone to record more than 20 minutes of a personal sex video the woman had stored on her phone, the report said. The video had been on Coleman’s phone for a year when detectives found it.
Police matched Coleman’s patrol logs with the date the video was recorded and determined he’d taken the phone from a California woman during a traffic stop.
The woman told investigators the man in the video was her boyfriend.
“She said there was no reason why anyone should have those videos, nor did she give anyone permission to have them,” the report said.
The woman recalled being arrested on warrants and taken to jail by another officer, but her phone wasn’t with her belongings when she was released.
Detectives found three more women who began relationships with Coleman after meeting him on the job. Coleman has not been charged with any crimes relating to those relationships, though he could face internal discipline.
The first woman met Coleman in September 2012 after he and another officer responded to her noise complaint against a neighbor. Coleman sent her a text message several hours later and said he wanted to return her driver’s license, the report said.
Still wearing his uniform, Coleman returned by himself and started hitting on her, she told police.
“At first she thought it was nice until some of the comments began to make her uncomfortable,” the report said. Coleman asked for pictures of her “boobs and stuff,” the report said.
She said Coleman later moved close to her and said, “You grabbing for my gun?” while motioning toward his groin. “Go ahead. Grab it.”
The woman told detectives she said no, and eventually the officer left. She and Coleman later exchanged about 20 text messages, which became increasingly sexual. She also sent him a photo of her breasts, she told police.
She “liked being complimented and she thought it would be good to have an officer on her side to deal with her neighbor,” the report said.
But she was also uncomfortable. The woman refused Coleman’s request to come to her home a third time, knowing it could lead to sex.
“He’s an officer, what am I going to do?” she told police.
Two other women also said they exchanged text messages with the officer, although nothing sexual happened.
One of the women told detectives Coleman put his cell phone number into her contacts list under the name “Shawn.”
“She was hoping for a relationship,” the report said.
This isn’t the first Las Vegas police officer recently arrested on accusations of on-duty sexual misconduct.
In 2011 John Norman compelled two women to show their breasts after he pulled them over. He also was accused of fondling one of the women.
Allegations of misconduct were made against Norman by two other women, but no charges were filed in those cases.
Norman was initially charged with eight counts, but prosecutors dropped six charges as part of his guilty plea agreement. In January he was sentenced to two years in jail.
Reporter Brian Haynes contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283. Follow @blasky on Twitter.