Charges dismissed against reporter arrested at Ohio train derailment

Lambert was arrested at a press conference for trespassing.

February 15, 2023, 12:00 PM

Trespassing and resisting arrest charges were dismissed Wednesday against NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert, who was arrested at a press conference last week about the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment.

"My office has reviewed the relevant video and documentary evidence, and is dismissing the charges against Evan Lambert as unsupported by sufficient evidence," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday.

"While journalists could conceivably be subject to criminal charges for trespassing in some situations, this incident is not one of them. 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," Yost added.

Lambert had been charged with resisting arrest, a second-degree misdemeanor, and criminal trespassing, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

According to NewsNation, Lambert was doing a live report while Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke at a press conference about the cleanup efforts following a train derailment in a small Ohio village, 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’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. That is not lost on me," Lambert said in a statement.

He continued, "At the same time, as a journalist who has spent more than a decade covering crime, courts and more recently federal law enforcement, I have great respect for the officers who do their jobs each day with integrity, civil rights, justice and safety at the core of their mission."

DeWine's office said he did not see the incident but heard a "disagreement," according to his press secretary.

"Regardless of the intent, arresting a journalist reporting at a press conference is a serious matter," Yost said. "Ohio protects a free press under its constitution, and state officials should remember to exercise a heightened level of restraint in using arrest powers."

ABC News' Peter Charalambous and Will McDuffie contributed to this report.