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WATCH: Reporter arrested during East Palestine train derailment press conference

While officials were lifting the evacuation order for East Palestine residents, a NewsNation reporter was being arrested.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — While Gov. Mike DeWine and other local, state, and federal officials were announcing the lifting of the East Palestine train derailment evacuation order on Wednesday, a reporter at the briefing was taken into custody.

The reporter, identified as Evan Lambert of NewsNation, was apparently trying to do a live report as the news conference was taking place inside the gymnasium at the East Palestine Elementary School. Video captured by 3News shows law enforcement surrounding Lambert and ordering him to leave. 

As the gathering moved beyond the doors of the gymnasium, police are seen taking Lambert to the ground. A female voice in the background is asking officers to stop, shouting "This is bad. This is bad. Stop this. Evan, I'm sorry."

According to NewsNation, Lambert is facing charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. 3News has learned Lambert is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 8:30 a.m.

Lambert was held for about five hours before being released from jail, NewsNation reported.

“I’m doing fine right now. It’s been an extremely long day,” Lambert said after his release. “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.”

As Lambert was being detained during the briefing, DeWine was asked for his thoughts about the altercation. "I don't know the facts. A reporter should be allowed to report live or to tape or whatever they want to do," the governor said. "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. If someone was stopped from doing that, or told they could not do that, that was wrong. It was nothing that I authorized and certainly would be something I would not want to see happen."

DeWine's office also issued the below statement about the incident to 3News:

"Governor DeWine did not see the incident take place because his view was blocked by a bank of cameras recording the press conference, however he did hear a disagreement toward the back of the gymnasium.

He was later advised that a reporter who had been giving a live report during the briefing was asked to end the broadcast because the volume of his reporting was perceived to be interfering with the event.

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

As the Governor said at the conclusion of today’s briefing, he has always respected the media’s right to report live before, during, and after his press briefings, and the interruption to the reporter’s broadcast should not have taken place.

Because the Governor did not witness what occurred after the broadcast ended, we cannot provide comment on what led to the reporter’s arrest."

The East Liverpool/Wellsville NAACP Chapter #3182 released the following statement to 3News:

"Last night, many of us at the NAACP were watching the press conference in East Palestine about the tragic train derailment situation. We watched in horror as Emmy-nominated, award-winning journalist Evan Lambert from NewsNation was attacked by law enforcement officers. He was arrested for doing his job too loudly. Anyone who has been to a press conference knows this happens too often to journalists doing live and previously recorded segments. A free press is at the bedrock of this democracy and it must be protected. 

We here at the NAACP #3182 of Wellsville and East Liverpool condemn the attack of this young, black journalist. We also call for local law enforcement to drop the charges they have pending against Mr. Lambert (charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.)

After the statement put out by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, we believe this further proves that what Mr. Lambert was doing was no harm. We look forward to seeing the report of the charges dropped against Mr. Lambert."

The Society of Professional Journalists is also condemning the arrest of Lambert:

“It is imperative reporters remain free to keep the public informed without interference from law enforcement,” said SPJ National President Claire Regan and SPJ Vice-President Ashanti Blaize Hopkins. “Journalism is not a crime and we urge East Palestine PD to drop all charges against Mr. Lambert immediately and issue a public apology for his arrest.”

Lambert was arrested for trespassing at a news conference where Gov. Mike DeWine was speaking about the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in Ohio. NewsNation said Lambert was asked by police to stop his live report before he was arrested. He was held for about five hours before being released from jail.

DeWine said he did not request that Lambert stop his live broadcast or know the request was being made by police. SPJ is glad to hear that DeWine supports journalists’ rights to report. He told reporters they had a right to report during the press conference and "if they were in any way hampered from reporting, that certainly is wrong and it's not anything that I approve — in fact I vehemently disapprove of it."

After his release, Lambert said he had paperwork saying “there are still charges pending against me.” 

You can watch the altercation between police and Evan Lambert below:

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