NewsNation reporter arrested at Ohio governor’s press conference

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (NewsNation) — A NewsNation reporter was arrested Wednesday during a news conference held by Ohio Governor Fr train derailment.

Correspondent Evan Lambert reported live during NewsNation’s “Rush hour” when law enforcement personnel at a press conference told him to be quiet because Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was speaking.

The charges Lambert faces are disorderly conduct and criminal trespass.

After Lambert was taken into custody by police, DeWine said he did not personally order the arrest.

“My practice has always been that if I’m doing a press conference, somebody wants to report there and wants to talk back to the people on the channel, whatever, they have every right to do that,” DeWine said. “If they prevented someone from doing it, or told them they couldn’t do it, that’s wrong. It was nothing that I authorized.”

As Lambert sat in the back of a squad car, he said, “It’s hard to do our job in America in 2023, but we’re going to keep doing it.”

A press conference in East Palestine, Ohio, was scheduled for 3 pm ET, but was postponed. DeWine finally began speaking around 5 p.m., the same time Lambert was scheduled to go live on NewsNation.

Preston Swigart, a photographer who was with Lambert, said Lambert was approached by police and asked to stop talking. The press conference was held in the gymnasium of East Palestine Elementary School.

“From their point of view, he disobeyed orders when he was told to stop talking,” Swigart said. “Gymnasiums are reverberant and loud, and the sound kind of carries over, so I guess they just didn’t like the fact that there was a sound competing with the governor speaking, even though he was all the way across the room.”

Lambert is a Washington, D.C. correspondent who was in Ohio to cover the news conference, where DeWine gave an update on evacuation orders that have been around since the train derailed in East Palestine, a small town on the Pennsylvania border.

About 50 freight cars, including 10 carrying hazardous materials, derailed in eastern Palestine around 9 p.m. on Friday. Railroad operator Norfolk Southern said the train was carrying produce from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania, at the time of the derailment.

No injuries to crew, occupants or emergency responders were reported as a result of the train derailment. But some people have complained of smelling chlorine or smoke and having headaches.

The derailment raised new concerns about hazardous chemicals. Authorities warned that burning vinyl chloride in five derailed tank cars would release hydrogen chloride and phosgene into the air.

Local law enforcement told Lambert he would be held overnight at the Columbiana County Jail and the earliest he could be released is 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday.

“Evan is safe and sound, and continues to conduct himself with the professionalism and integrity he brings to his job every day,” said Mike Viqueira, NewsNation’s Washington Bureau Chief. “As you can see in the videos, he was doing his job – what hundreds of journalists do without incident – reporting to the public on an issue of urgent, critical interest to our audience.”

Viqueria called the arrest a violation of the First Amendment that angered him.

“I was watching the stream of the press conference … and the only thing I heard that was distracting was when this altercation with the police – which they apparently instigated – was going on,” Viqueria said. “I didn’t hear anything from Evan’s voice when he spoke softly on live television. … As his boss, as his colleague, as a fellow journalist, it was really infuriating.”

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