Officials Drop Charges Against NewsNation Reporter Who Was Arrested While Covering Train Derailment Story


Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has dropped charges against NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert, who officials arrested as he covered the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Yost’s office announced Wednesday.

Police arrested Lambert at a Feb. 9 press conference held by Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in East Palestine. Officers told the reporter to stop recording the event and leave the premises. Officials alleged that Lambert was being too loud during his livestream of the conference, and physically pushed him out of the gymnasium and handcuffed him after he disobeyed their orders to leave.

Officials charged the reporter with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. Yost’s office investigated the case and determined that Lambert was “lawfully present” at the press conference.

“My office has reviewed the relevant video and documentary evidence, and is dismissing the charges against Evan Lambert as unsupported by sufficient evidence,” Yost announced Wednesday, according to his office’s press release. “While journalists could conceivably be subject to criminal charges for trespassing in some situations, this incident is not one of them. The reporter was lawfully present at a press conference called by the Governor of the state. His conduct was consistent with the purpose of the event and his role as a reporter.”

Yost said arresting a journalist is a “serious matter” and a clear violation of Ohio’s state constitution, according to the press release. (RELATED: Cable News Reporter Arrested While Covering Governor’s Press Release)

Lambert released a statement Wednesday thanking the public and the offices of Yost and DeWine for dropping the charges after his “unjust and illegal arrest.”

“It is by design that reporters aren’t meant to become the story. In my case, I truly did not choose this, and anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I do not want nor relish in any of this extra attention,” Lambert said. “To all who have shared the video of the harassment, then excessive force, then unjust and illegal arrest, I thank you.”

Recent footage showed Maj. Gen. John Harris Jr. of the Ohio State Highway Patrol pushing Lambert in the chest with one hand. He later insisted he felt threatened by Lambert’s alleged aggressive advances toward him.

The NewsNation reporter was released on bond after spending five hours behind bars, CBS News previously reported. He denounced his 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.