NewsNation correspondent Evan Lambert is speaking out as charges against him following his Feb. 8 arrest at a Ohio train derailment press conference were dropped.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, R, announced Wednesday that “relevant video and documentary evidence” do not support the charges against Lambert, who was accused of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.
“While journalists could conceivably be subject to criminal charges for trespassing in some situations, this incident is not one of them,” Yost wrote. “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.”
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Lambert released his own statement, commenting on the arrest for the first time since it occurred.
“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 began. “To all who have shared the video of the harassment, then excessive force, then unjust and illegal arrest, I thank you.”
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“I’m still processing what was a traumatic event for me, in the context of a time where we are hyper aware how frequently some police interactions with people of color can end in much worse circumstances. That is not lost on me,” Lambert wrote. “At the same time, as a journalist who has spent more than a decade covering crime, courts and more recently federal law enforcement, I have great respect for the officers who do their jobs each day with integrity, civil rights, justice and safety at the core of their mission.”
Lambert went on to express gratitude to Attorney General Yost, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, R, as well as NewsNation and its parent company Nexstar Media Group for helping secure his release and dismiss his charges.
Last week, a heated clash between Lambert and law enforcement broke out at a gymnasium in East Palestine, where DeWine was giving a press conference to update on the unfolding disaster from the toxic train derailment.
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As he was reporting live, Lambert was told by authorities he had to leave, which he refused. The situation escalated when police officers forced Lambert to the ground, cuffed him and escorted him to a patrol car that took him to the county jail.
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While local police defended their actions, DeWine denounced the arrest during the press conference, saying it was “wrong” for Lambert to be told to stop reporting and asserting he did not authorize law enforcement to apprehend the NewsNation correspondent.
“I’m certainly very, very sorry that that happened,” DeWine told reporters. “[Lambert] had every right to be reporting and do what they do every single day.”
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