A train derailment Friday night sparked a massive fire in East Palestine, Ohio, a town about an hour from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Charges Dropped Against Reporter Who Was Arrested Covering Train Derailment In Ohio

A train derailment Friday night sparked a massive fire in East Palestine, Ohio, a town about an hour from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
TFP File photo

A NewsNation reporter who was arrested in eastern Ohio while covering the train derailment which sparked a large chemical plume over the town had his charges dropped Wednesday, the state Attorney General confirmed.

Reporter Evan Lambert was arrested on Feb. 8 while giving a live report during a press conference during which Republican Gov. Mike DeWine gave an update on the train derailment that caused the mass evacuation of nearly 2,000 residents before hazardous chemicals were released from the cars.

Videos of the incident did not provide enough evidence to warrant criminal trespass or disorderly conduct charges, according to Republican Attorney General Dave Yost.

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“While journalists could conceivably be subject to criminal charges for trespassing in some situations, this incident is not one of them,” Yost said, according to Wednesday’s press release. “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.”

East Palestine Police Department (ELPD) were following orders from the National Guard, according to the press release. Yost added that tensions were high in the days following the Feb. 3 derailment.

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

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Video of Lambert’s arrest circulated soon after the incident, and body camera footage shows officials asking Lambert to leave the auditorium for being too loud during his report. Lambert initially refused, and then two officials led him out into the hallway, where he was pushed to the ground and handcuffed, according to the video.

DeWine did not agree with the decision to end Lambert’s report.

Lambert was released from jail hours after the arrest, according to NewsNation.

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