COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Charges filed against a television reporter who was arrested in East Palestine, Ohio, last week while delivering a live report have been dropped.
Criminal charges against NewsNation Correspondent Evan Lambert were dismissed, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said Wednesday. Lambert was charged with resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor, and criminal trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
“While journalists could conceivably be subject to criminal charges for trespassing in some situations, this incident is not one of them,” said Yost in a release. “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.”
Lambert was arrested Feb. 8 in East Palestine after delivering a live news report and was ordered to stop while Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave a news conference regarding a recent train derailment.
In a statement Wednesday morning, Lambert thanked Yost and “everyone who shared the video of the harassment, then excessive force, then unjust and illegal arrest.”
“I’m still processing what was a traumatic event for me, in the context of a time where we are hyper aware of how frequently some police interactions with people of color can end in much worse circumstances,” wrote Lambert. “That is not lost on me.”
Body camera footage shows the moments leading up to the arrest of the reporter, including a part of an argument between a member of Ohio’s National Guard and Lambert. Deputies are seen attempting to forcibly remove Lambert before tackling him to arrest him.
Given more than decade covering crime, court and federal law enforcement, Lambert wrote in his statement he has great respect for officers.
“I will also continue to do my job without fear or favor in service of the public,” said Lambert. “I also hope what happened to me shines further attention on the people of East Palestine, who rightly have questions about their safety in light of an environmental hazard.”