The following is a statement from the GCLEABJ Editorial Board
Updated: Mar 5
regarding the assault on Journalist Evan Lambert:
The Greater Cleveland Association of Black Journalists (GCLEABJ) is appalled by the military and police assault on fellow journalist Evan Lambert on Friday, February 3 while he was doing his job in a proper manner. Lambert, a NewsNation Washington, DC-based correspondent, was in East Palestine, Ohio, to cover the derailment of several Norfolk Southern train cars, resulting in a toxic chemical spill.
After obeying requests to stop broadcasting a live segment during a press conference, Lambert was assaulted by the Ohio Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., and violently arrested. He was tackled by East Palestine officers, then handcuffed, placed in a patrol car, and incarcerated. He was not released for five hours until misdemeanor charges were filed against him. The spurious charges were finally dropped a week later.
GCLEABJ condemns this violation of free speech rights and freedom of the Press - enshrined in the United States and Ohio Constitutions. We urge Gov. Michael DeWine to take appropriate action ensuring that such a violation of the public’s right to receive the news will not happen again. We especially want to know what steps will be taken regarding Adjutant General Harris’s behavior in the incident. Failure to send a clear message that freedom of the press will be protected in Ohio can have a chilling effect on the dissemination of news and undermine a vital pillar of democracy.
We join our parent organization, the National Association of Black Journalists in demanding a public apology that clearly outlines what steps state and local authorities will take to ensure this does not happen to any other journalist. We look forward to swift action on this issue.