Video Shows Reporter Being Arrested at Ohio Governor's Press Conference
Ohio police charged NewsNation's Evan Lambert with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he did not authorize the arrest.
A reporter was filmed being arrested on Wednesday while covering the devastating train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
ABC 6 writes that the incident took place inside an elementary school gymnasium, where Ohio’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, conducted a press conference. The briefing was reportedly scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. local time, but DeWine didn’t start addressing media until two hours later, when NewsNation correspondent Evan Lambert was scheduled to go live for Rush Hour.
According to the network, law enforcement approached Lambert and his photographer, Preston Swigart, telling them to stay quiet while DeWine was speaking. Lambert reportedly continued with his live shot, which resulted in an altercation.
“From their standpoint, he didn’t obey orders when he was told to stop talking,” Swigart said. “Gymnasiums are echoey and loud and sound kind of carries, so I’m guessing that they just didn’t like the fact that there was sound competing with the governor speaking, even though it was all the way at the other end of the room.”
Video taken after the conference showed Lambert in a heated discussion with officers, who then forced him to the ground before placing him in handcuffs. The correspondent was reportedly arrested for disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.
“It’s tough to do your job in America in 2023, but we’ll keep doing it,” Lambert said as he was put in the back of a squad car.
Gov. DeWine said he did not authorize the arrest and not agree with officers interrupting the live broadcast. DeWine also claimed he wasn’t aware of the issue until after it took place.
“It has always been my practice that if I’m doing a press conference, someone wants to report out there and they want to be talking back to the people back on channel, whatever, they have every right to do that,” DeWine said in a statement. “If someone was stopped from doing that, or told they could not do that, that was wrong. It was nothing that I authorized.”
NewsNation bureau chief Mike Viqueira stated that he was communicating with Lambert, who remained in the Columbiana County Jail on Wednesday night.
“First, Evan is safe and calm, and continues to act with professionalism and integrity that he brings to his work each day. As you see from the videos, he was doing his job—what hundreds of journalists do without incident—reporting to the public on a matter of urgent, critical interest to our audience. … Every effort is being made to assist Evan and secure his release as soon as possible,” Viqueira said in a statement.
Lambert was released later Wednesday night and went on air to discuss the situation:
“I’m doing fine right now, and it’s just been an extremely long day. I have to be kind of careful about what I say, but as you can see, I’m out,” he said.
Lambert is a Washington, D.C.-based reporter who traveled to Ohio to cover the fiery train derailment that occurred on Feb. 3. Officials said 10 of the derailed cars were transporting hazardous chemicals that slowly released into the air; one of the chemicals was vinyl chloride, an unstable substance that could’ve caused a major explosion.
In an effort to protect the public, Gov. DeWine issued a mandatory evacuation while emergency crews conducted “controlled burns” at the derailment site. The order was officially lifted Wednesday, after air and water samples indicted residents were no longer at risk.