Journalist arrested while reporting on press conference about derailment cleanup

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(EAST PALESTINE, Ohio) — Officers from the East Palestine Police Department in Ohio arrested NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert during a press conference about the cleanup efforts following a train derailment in a small Ohio village.

Officials from the Columbiana County Jail confirmed Lambert was released at 10:20 p.m. on Wednesday and faces criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct charges. The Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to ABC News that they also assisted in the reporter’s arrest.

According to NewsNation, Lambert was doing a live report while Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke at the conference, prompting law enforcement to ask Lambert to be quiet. NewsNation said that Lambert concluded the segment before being asked to leave. Multiple videos from the incident show officers arresting and subsequently forcibly removing Lambert.

“I got arrested because I was doing a live report about what people need to know,” Lambert said, walking out of the building in handcuffs.

DeWine did not see the incident due to a row of cameras but heard a “disagreement,” according to Dan Tierney, DeWine’s press secretary.

“Governor DeWine did not request that the reporter stop his live broadcast, nor did he know that the request was being made,” Tierney wrote.

DeWine defended Lambert’s right to report when asked about the confrontation during the press conference.

“All I can say is that person had a right to be reporting; they should have been allowed to report,” DeWine said. “If they were in any way hampered from reporting, that certainly is wrong, and it is not anything I approve; in fact, I vehemently disapprove of it.”

DeWine reiterated at the press conference that he did not authorize the arrest, inviting Lambert to interview him upon release.

“I am certainly very, very sorry that happened; I don’t know all the facts, but he or she, whoever was arrested, had every right to be reporting and do what they do every single day,” he said.

Earlier reports indicated Lambert would be in police custody overnight, though officials confirmed he was released.

“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,” Lambert told NewsNation following his release.

Lambert was in East Palestine to cover the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train that prompted the evacuation of nearly half the town of 5,000 residents. Local and state officials announced Wednesday that residents could return to their homes after air quality samples showed safe levels of contaminants in the area.

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