An Ohio police chief has defended the arrest of a “loud” NewsNation journalist as the reporter did a live shot at a press conference attended by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) on Wednesday.
The comments come after police brought Evan Lambert, a correspondent for the outlet, out of an East Palestine, Ohio, gymnasium and cuffed him on the ground.
DeWine, who provided an update about a train derailment at the press conference, later remarked that he did not authorize the arrest and journalists “have every right to” report at his press conferences.
“If someone was stopped from doing that, or told they could not do that, that was wrong,” DeWine said.
East Palestine police chief J.C. Brown III, in a statement, seemingly justified the arrest and described Lambert’s report as loud.
Brown added that officials approached Lambert to ensure that other members of the media received information before “an argument” broke out and disrupted the press conference.
His statement later described the situation as having “evolved into a physical confrontation” although video from the scene prior to the arrest doesn’t appear to show such a confrontation, as Mediaite pointed out.
You can read more of Brown’s statement in a report from NewsNation.
Body camera footage from an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer shows Lambert arguing that he’s allowed to be at the press conference before officials led him outside of the gymnasium and brought him to the ground.
Lambert was arrested for criminal trespass and resisting arrest before his release from jail on Wednesday.
Lambert’s attorney Frank Cassese, in a statement to NewsNation, blasted the charges and referred to them as “a futile attempt by law enforcement to justify their inexcusable interference with Mr. Lambert performing his duties as a journalist.”
“It is our position that the numerous videos of the incident, as recorded by bystanders, speak for themselves,” said Cassese, who criticized one official’s claim that he was convinced Lambert “was prepared to do harm” on him.
DeWine, in an interview with the outlet on Thursday, said he didn’t want to see Lambert in jail.
“I don’t want to see him prosecuted. But for me to say I know what happened would simply not be the truth,” DeWine said.
“The reporter had every right to broadcast. No one should have said anything to the reporter about whether he was loud or not loud.”