Charges Against NewsNation Reporter Dropped After Video Reveals Top Military Officer Shoving Him in Chest

Ohio’s attorney general affirmed that Evan Lambert did not act unlawfully during a news conference about a recent train derailment and explosion

Evan Lambert, NewsNation
NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert (NewsNation)

The state of Ohio has dropped charges of trespassing and resisting arrest against NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert, Attorney General Dave Yost said Wednesday.

The charges stemmed from a Feb. 9 news conference about a train derailment and explosion in East Palestine, Ohio, where Lambert was doing a live report. Police asked him to stop and then arrested him.

Wednesday’s news came a day after a local news station reported that video it had acquired of the circumstances that preceded Lambert’s arrest showed an angle that had previously been unseen publicly. WKBN-TV reported that surveillance video from the gymnasium in which the news conference was held revealed the top officer in Ohio’s National Guard, Major Gen. John Harris, shoving Harris in the chest before other law enforcement officers converged around the men and separated them. Lambert was soon thereafter forcibly removed from the gym, taken to the ground and put in handcuffs.

“While journalists could conceivably be subject to criminal charges for trespassing in some situations, this incident is not one of them,” Yost said in a statement. “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 went on the air just as Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine began speaking. According to NewsNation, Lambert was charged with resisting arrest, which is a second-degree misdemeanor, and criminal trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

In a statement shared on Twitter, Lambert thanked DeWine and Yost, as well NewsNation and its parent company, Nexstar Media Group. He also thanked everyone who supported him during what he called an “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,” Lambert said in the statement. “That is not lost on me.”

He added that he has “great respect” for officers who do their jobs with “integrity, civil rights, justice and safety at the core of their mission.”

Lambert concluded, “I am doing alright. And I will be OK. I will also continue to do my job without fear or favor in service of the public. 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.”