NABJ Calls For Charges to Be Dropped Against Evan Lambert
NABJ is appalled by the egregious infringement on the First Amendment rights of member Evan Lambert, who is a NewsNation D.C.-based correspondent. Yesterday, he was arrested in Ohio and treated like a criminal for doing his job as a reporter (conducting a live segment during a press conference).
After being pushed to the ground by East Palestine officers, then handcuffed, placed in a patrol car, and held in jail for five hours, he was released late last evening. We are grateful he is out of police custody and safe, according to NewsNation, but his release is not enough.
There has yet to be a public apology by the police department nor explanation as to why reporting live from an event is considered a reason for arrest. Evan was simply reporting in real-time on critical information needed to help community residents during a public emergency. Journalism is not a crime, and in a time when Black men are often targets of police Evan’s arrest is alarming.
NABJ is demanding the following:
- A public apology that clearly outlines what steps local authorities will take to ensure this happens to no other journalist.
- A timeline of when the charges will be dropped against Evan, which we are calling for immediate action on.
- An explanation as to why Evan was the only reporter arrested when other journalists were on site.
- An explanation from Gov. Mike DeWine on why he has not called for the charges to be dropped, after stating that reporters had the right to report from the event and should not have been hampered from their jobs.
Not dropping the charges immediately is a clear agreement with the violation of Evan’s First Amendment rights and with interfering with the freedom of the press. We urge East Palestine and Ohio officials to do the right thing. We look forward to swift action and will continue to monitor the situation.