EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — A reporter who was arrested in East Palestine in February during a press conference on the fiery train derailment has filed a lawsuit against Columbiana County, the City of East Palestine and multiple law enforcement officials.
NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert was pushed to the ground and handcuffed at a Feb. 8, 2023 press conference after being told to quiet down during Gov. Mike DeWine's update.
Initially, Lambert had been charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest, and spent five hours in jail before being released on a $750 bond, according to court records. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost eventually dismissed the charges, court documents show. DeWine, at the time, stated the arrest was wrong and in violation of his First Amendment rights.
The lawsuit lists the following police officials:
- Major General John C. Harris, Jr. of the Ohio National Guard
- Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughlin
- Columbiana County Chief Deputy Jennifer Tucker
- East Palestine Police Chief James Brown III
- East Palestine Detective Daniel Haueter
Lambert claimed in the lawsuit that he was arrested, assaulted and charged for offenses he claims he didn't commit. He also claims that he was fasley arrested, had his First and Fourth Amendment rights violated and suffered battery. The lawsuit claims Harris pushed Lambert in the chest and yelled at Lambert, calling his reporting "rude."
The documents state Lambert filed the lawsuit so that other reporters in Ohio could do their jobs without "fear that they will experience the same unlawful mistreatment."
The 10 counts against the plaintiffs include:
The lawsuit lists 10 counts against the plaintiffs, including:
- Violation of the First Amendment (retaliation)
- Violation of the First Amendment (interference with newsgathering)
- Violation of the Fourth Amendment (false arrest)
- Violation of the Fourth Amendment (excessive force)
- False arrest
- Malicious prosecution
- Violation of the First Amendment against Columbiana County and East Palestine
- Violation of the Fourth Amendment, Ohio Constitution
- Article I, Section 11 – Unlawful Deprivation of Free Speech and Freedom of the Press against Columbiana County and East Palestine.
The lawsuit is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and court costs.