Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) announced Wednesday that charges of resisting arrest and criminal trespass against NewsNation reporter Adam Lambert have been dismissed. Lambert was arrested at a press event by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R) in East Palestine on February 8 about the train derailment of toxic chemicals cargo that has caused an environmental disaster in the eastern Ohio town of about 5,000.
Lambert was at the far end of a school gymnasium doing a live report while at the other end DeWine was speaking to reporters. Lambert was accosted and assaulted by a National Guard general who ordered Lambert to be quiet. Lambert was surrounded by law enforcement officers and told to leave. Lambert was hustled out and arrested when he insisted on staying and doing his job as a reporter who was invited to cover the governor’s press event.
Charges Dismissed for NewsNation Reporter in East Palestine
(LISBON, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced that the criminal charges filed against NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert have been dismissed.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section was appointed by the Columbiana County Prosecuting Attorney to handle the charges filed in Columbiana County Municipal Court.
“My office has reviewed the relevant video and documentary evidence, and is dismissing the charges against Evan Lambert as unsupported by sufficient evidence.
“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 added that tensions were running high in the days following the derailment and that local officials appeared to be following the lead of the National Guard.
“Regardless of the intent, arresting a journalist reporting at a press conference is a serious matter,” Yost said. “Ohio protects a free press under its constitution, and state officials should remember to exercise a heightened level of restraint in using arrest powers.”
Lambert was charged with resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor, and criminal trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Lambert posted a statement to social media about the dismissal of the charges.
— Evan Lambert (@EvanLambertTV) February 15, 2023
Excerpt from TGP report on Lambert’s arrest:
A bizarre incident took place Wednesday at a press conference by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) in East Palestine about a hazardous train derailment in which a reporter for NewsNation doing a stand-up report was surrounded by the county sheriff, town police officers, state troopers, the building superintendent and was shoved by a National Guard general. Lambert was then arrested for refusing to leave the press conference. The general had complained to Lambert that he was speaking too loud. Lambert told officers, “I am doing my job. This is covered by the First Amendment.”
Gov. DeWine did not see the altercation, which took place at the far end of a school gymnasium away from the DeWine press event. DeWine condemned the arrest when he was informed about it, saying he does nor bar reporters from doing stand-up reports while he speaks.
NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert was forced to the floor and handcuffed in full view of fellow reporters and then hustled outside and taken to jail, charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest. Lambert was released about five hours later on $750 bond.
Lambert said as he was being handcuffed, “This is what it’s like to be a Black reporter in 2023.” While the officers who arrested him are White, the general who sparked the incident and shoved Lambert is also Black.
State Trooper bodycam video of Lambert’s arrest (excerpt followed by complete video):
I wasn’t going to watch this. But it is important to show. My colleague was trying to do his job. This video shows Ohio’s commander of the National Guard, Adjutant General Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., shove my colleague. Escalating the situation. @NationalGuard @NewsNation pic.twitter.com/CW3ldxbGZL
— Kellie Meyer (@KellieMeyerNews) February 10, 2023
Statement by Ohio National Guard Adjutant Maj. Gen. John Harris released February 9 on Lambert’s arrest says the general felt threatened by Lambert.(Bio):
The Pentagon criticized Gen. Harris’ conduct as “not acceptable behavior”:
Full story and my question to @PentagonPresSec – who called the behavior of the senior officer who oversees and leads the Ohio national guard that is seen shoving Evan in this video – “not acceptable behavior” @NewsNation https://t.co/rT2DrIuODl pic.twitter.com/RCgHcLJBRj
— Kellie Meyer (@KellieMeyerNews) February 11, 2023
DeWine criticized the arrest of Lambert when informed by reporters at the press event.
Journalists on the ground pushed Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for answers during the press conference. Here’s what he said over two hours ago about authorities arresting Evan Lambert and putting him in handcuffs. And yet, here we are. #FreedomofthePress pic.twitter.com/Muvs6SPd7w
— Paige Lobdell (@producerpaige_) February 9, 2023