Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office will handle the case involving a broadcast reporter who was arrested while covering a train derailment in East Palestine.
NewsNation correspondent Evan Lambert was pushed to the ground, handcuffed and arrested for trespassing Wednesday while covering a news conference by Gov. Mike DeWine on the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals. The media outlet posted a video of the incident and later reported that Lambert was held for five hours before being released.
DeWine said he did not authorize the arrest and defended the rights of reporters to report during briefings.
The Columbiana County prosecutor’s office said Friday that as more information surfaced, it became clear multiple state agencies were involved in the incident, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio National Guard. Local prosecutors are forwarding the matter to Yost’s office “given the complex nature of the parties involved.”
“We will work diligently with the OAG’s Office to ensure they have all necessary information, evidence, and materials required for a prompt review,” the office’s statement said.
A spokesman for Yost said his office has been asked to handle the charges filed by local officials.
Lambert was charged with criminal trespassing and resisting arrest, which are both misdemeanors, according to online court records. He’s scheduled to appear for an arraignment Feb. 23.
How reporter’s arrest unfolded
Lambert was in East Palestine Wednesday as DeWine announced that residents who evacuated could begin returning to the area. The Washington, D.C.-based journalist was filming a live shot while DeWine’s news conference was underway.
In a statement Wednesday, the East Palestine Police Department said two members of the highway patrol and National Guard adjutant general Maj. Gen. John Harris tried to stop Lambert because he was loud. Body camera footage released by the highway patrol shows Harris pushing Lambert after an argument appeared to ensue. Police said Harris felt threatened, but the footage does not show what happened to prompt the argument.
The beginning of the video does not have audio. After the audio kicks on, Lambert is heard saying, “I am allowed to be here.”