Police Pin, Arrest Black Reporter Doing His Job At Ohio Governor’s Press Conference

‘It’s tough to do your job in America in 2023,’ NewsNation’s Evan Lambert said on a video of the incident.

Police arrested NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert for trespassing and disorderly conduct after a live TV shot of Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine’s news conference Wednesday (Feb. 8) about a train derailment.

A video shows two East Palestine Police Department officers handcuffing the network’s Washington, D.C.-based correspondent facedown in a gymnasium of an East Palestine, Ohio elementary school and escorting him to a police SUV.

NewsNation reported that Lambert was giving a live report for the network’s Rush Hour show when officers at the news conference told him to be quiet because DeWine was speaking. After finishing his report, the cops asked him to leave the school gym where the event was held and arrested him.

“It’s tough to do your job in America in 2023, but we’ll keep doing it,” Lambert said while the cops placed him in the squad car, according to NewsNation.

“From their standpoint, he didn’t obey orders when he was told to stop talking. Gymnasiums are echoey and loud and sound kind of carries, so I’m guessing that they just didn’t like the fact that there was sound competing with the governor speaking, even though it was all the way at the other end of the room,” Preston Swigart, a photographer who was with Lambert, told NewsNation.

Mike Viqueira, NewsNation’s Washington Bureau chief, called the arrest an infuriating violation of the First Amendment.

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Authorities released Lambert from Columbiana County Jail Wednesday night.

“I’m doing fine right now. It’s been an extremely long day. 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,” Lambert told NewsNation.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) called the arrest an “egregious infringement on the First Amendment rights” of Lambert, a member of the organization. The NABJ demanded that authorities drop charges against Lambert, issue a public apology, and explain why he was arrested for doing his job, among other demands.

“Journalism is not a crime, and in a time when Black men are often targets of police Evan’s arrest is alarming,” the statement said.

DeWine’s spokesman told The Washington Post  that the governor didn’t ask for Lambert to stop his live broadcast.

“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,” the spokesman, Dan Tierney, wrote in an email.

“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.”

According to USA Today, the police released Lambert on $750 bond, and he’s due in court Feb. 23 for arraignment.

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