Press Club Statement on Recent Milestones For Reporters Assaulted By Law Police

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement by Eileen O’Reilly, President of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, President of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, on the recent milestones in cases of reporters assaulted by police.

“We support reporter Evan Lambert of NewsNation, who recently filed suit against the village of East Palestine; Columbiana County (where East Palestine is located); and five law enforcement officers for violations of his rights under Ohio state law and the U.S. Constitution. The suit stems from Lambert’s arrest earlier this year at a news conference after the derailment of a train carrying chemicals in East Palestine. We have viewed the video of the incident and it is clear Mr. Lambert did nothing wrong, acted as a professional and should not have been arrested.

“We also note that last week reporter Josie Huang settled her suit for an unlawful arrest in Los Angeles County in 2020. Ms. Huang, who was a regular freelancer for the local NPR affiliate in LA, was handled roughly by Los Angeles County Sheriff Department deputies, put down and handcuffed during her arrest. She also should never have been arrested as she was shooting video of a police response to a protest. That is her job. The settlement in her case was $700,000.

“In both cases, the Press Club issued statements at the time of the incidents and has followed the cases of Evan and Josie. We are grateful to the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press for their outstanding work defending Ms. Huang and Mr. Lambert in these cases.

“As journalists continue to navigate a volatile environment, we recognize the need for newsrooms and freelancers alike to prepare for these kinds of assaults by law enforcement and others. But we also urge law enforcement to step up their training in areas including how to work with the press covering protests or working in the field. The sorts of things that happened to Mr. Lambert and Ms. Huang simply should not happen. Both were wearing visible and up-to-date credentials at the time of their unlawful arrests. Local governments and police forces who spend a little money now on training may avoid expensive settlements, judgments, and increases in insurance costs down the road. We urge them to act now and clarify to their officers that the best approach is to call a PIO to the scene when reporters are involved. This simple action should avoid the unlawful arrest of reporters.”

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. With 3,000 members representing nearly every leading journalism organization. The Club is a leading voice for press freedom worldwide.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with the skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. The NPCJI is the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club.

Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-882-7534 for the National Press Club

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SOURCE National Press Club

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