Body camera footage showed the moment authorities arrested NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert at a news conference in East Palestine, Ohio.
Police confronted Lambert for allegedly being too loud with his livestream at Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine‘s Wednesday press conference about a derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals, according to an East Palestine Police Department news release. The confrontation erupted when Lambert refused repeated demands to leave.
The footage showed authorities demanding that Lambert leave the gymnasium where the conference was being held. Maj. Gen. John Harris Jr. of the Ohio State Highway Patrol approached him and appeared to push him on the chest with one hand. A state trooper stepped between the two and moved Harris away from the journalist.
Lambert insisted he had a right to be at the news conference and refused officials’ requests to leave. Two individuals grabbed him by both arms and led him into the doorway where he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed. (RELATED: ‘This Is My Job’: Journalist Faces Jail Time After Being Arrested While Covering Black Lives Matter Protest)
The officers arrested him for trespassing and resisting arrest after telling him to stop his live broadcast, according to CBS News.
Harris claimed he felt threatened by Lambert’s alleged aggressive advances toward him, ultimately leading him to put his hand on his chest, according to the outlet.
“I instinctively put my hands on his chest to keep him from bumping into me, which I felt was inevitable if I had not protected myself,” Harris said.
Lambert was released on bond after spending about five hours in jail, CBS News reported. He staunchly denounced the arrest by defending his right to cover the event.
“No journalist expects to be arrested when you’re doing your job, and I think that’s really important that that doesn’t happen in our country,” he said.
NewsNation President Michael Corn defended Lambert, saying he “acted professionally” and deserves an apology from the officials, the outlet reported. The entire network has stood by Lambert in regards to the incident.
“Evan is safe and calm, and continues to act with professionalism and integrity that he brings to his work each day,” NewsNation D.C. bureau chief Mike Viqueira said in a statement, according to Fox News. “As you see from the videos, he was doing his job — what hundreds of journalists do without incident — reporting to the public on the matter of urgent, critical interest to our audience.”
The case is being overseen by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office “given the complex nature of the parties involved,” according to the Columbus Dispatch.