Charges dismissed for reporter arrested at East Palestine press conference

Authorities stopped NewsNation reporter who was broadcasting from back of gym during press conference

Criminal charges against a reporter who was arrested while covering a news conference on the Norfolk Southern train derailment in the village of East Palestine have been dismissed, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday.

NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert was pushed to the floor, handcuffed and arrested Feb. 8 after local police said he was too loud and told him to stop his live broadcast of Gov. Mike DeWine’s press conference from the back of a school gymnasium in East Palestine.

“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.”

Body-camera video released by the Ohio State Highway Patrol showed Maj. Gen. John Harris Jr., commander of the state’s national guard, briefly push the reporter with one hand to the chest.

Lambert was held in custody for about five hours before he was released from jail, according to NewsNation cable channel. He had been charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.

The Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office referred the case to Yost’s office because multiple state agencies were involved in the arrest.

During a Tuesday news conference about the Feb. 3 train derailment, DeWine said he hoped the charges would be dismissed against the reporter and said the general regretted the incident.

“I have the same opinion that I had the first day, and that is I would hope that charges would be dropped … the reality is that the reporter should not have been stopped, period,” DeWine said.

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