Reporter arrested during train derailment news conference sues Columbiana County, East Palestine
A reporter from national news outlet NewsNation is suing Columbiana County and East Palestine for a scuffle with law enforcement agencies during a presser held earlier this year.
Evan Lambert is suing both entities for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages after being detained while covering a news conference about the derailment of a train carrying toxic chemicals in Ohio on live television.
The complaint cites nine times that Lambert's rights were violated, including the use of excessive force, interference with news gathering, and false arrest.
During a live report, Lambert was asked to stop filming, which he refused to do. That's when officers pushed him to the ground and arrested him.
According to the complaint, Lambert's attorney claims both departments "punished him for his lawful newsgathering, with the approval and personal participation of the decision-makers responsible for law enforcement policy in East Palestine and Columbiana County."
At the end of his news conference, DeWine said he didn't authorize the arrest and that reporters have “every right" to report during briefings.
The complaint accuses Major General John C. Harris, Jr., commanding general of the Ohio National Guard, of assaulting Lambert by pushing him to the ground.
Harris then ordered Lambert to be removed from the presser, even though the lawsuit claims that violated Lambert's right to be at the conference.
The complaint alleges that officers grabbed Lambert by both arms and forcibly pushed him out of the door while Lambert repeatedly objected.
Once outside, it accuses another officer of pushing Lambert to the ground by the collar of his shirt.
He was then taken to the East Palestine Police Department, put into metal handcuffs and leg shackles, before being taken to the Columbiana County Jail, according to the complaint.
Lambert was held for about five hours before being released from jail, NewsNation reported.
After the incident, the complaint claims Lambert had abrasions and bruises on his wrists from his handcuffing and scratches on his neck from the officers’ use of force. It adds that he suffered significant distress as a result of the incident, including weeks of nightmares featuring violent assaults by authority figures.
You can read the full complaint below: