Martin Kaste

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National desk. He covers law enforcement and privacy, as well as news from the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to general assignment reporting in the U.S., Kaste has contributed to NPR News coverage of major world events, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 uprising in Libya.

Kaste has reported on the government's warrant-less wiretapping practices as well as the data-collection and analysis that go on behind the scenes in social media and other new media. His privacy reporting was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 United States v. Jones ruling concerning GPS tracking.

Before moving to the West Coast, Kaste spent five years as NPR's reporter in South America. He covered the drug wars in Colombia, the financial meltdown in Argentina, the rise of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and the fall of Haiti's president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Throughout this assignment, Kaste covered the overthrow of five presidents in five years.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Kaste was a political reporter for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul for seven years.

Kaste is a graduate of Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota.

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U.S.
6:24 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Many Colleges Have Armed Police Squads, But Are They Worth The Risk?

On Wednesday, Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters announced murder and manslaughter charges against University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing for the traffic stop shooting death of motorist Samuel DuBose. During the press conference, Deters said that "being police officers shouldn't be the role of this university."
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 9:20 am

American college campuses are increasingly patrolled by armed police officers — and it's a trend that burst into public view Wednesday, when a University of Cincinnati officer was charged with murder in the shooting death of a black motorist during a traffic stop. But this arming of college cops is causing some worries.

When prosecutor Joe Deters announced the indictment of University of Cincinnati Officer Ray Tensing on Wednesday, he had harsh words about the officer's competence, saying he should never have been a cop.

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Around the Nation
6:40 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

The 'Shock Of Confinement': The Grim Reality Of Suicide In Jail

A cell at New York's Rikers Island jail. About 1,000 people die in American jails every year, and about a third of those are suicides.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Wed July 29, 2015 2:01 pm

The case of Sandra Bland has raised anger and suspicions nationwide since she was found dead in a jail cell in Hempstead, Texas, two weeks ago. Bland's family and supporters have rejected the medical examiner's finding of suicide, and the criminal district attorney for Waller County, Texas, says he's recruited two outside lawyers to assist in the investigation of her death. The local investigation has been reviewed by the FBI, and local prosecutors have pledged to bring the case to a grand jury next month.

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Law
5:49 am
Wed July 22, 2015

Sandra Bland Video Shows An Argument With Police Officer

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 6:22 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law
5:37 am
Tue July 21, 2015

A Death In A Texas Jail Stirs Suspicion

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 3:04 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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News
4:03 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

A Suicide Or Something Else? Young Woman's Death In Jail Incites Suspicion

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 7:39 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Law
5:02 am
Thu July 16, 2015

Is It Possible To Let More People Out Of Prison, And Keep Crime Down?

Inmates at California's Chino State Prison exercise in the prison yard in 2010. A proposition that was passed in the state last year reclassified certain crimes, releasing thousands of inmates earlier than had been anticipated.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 16, 2015 2:12 pm

President Obama has made incarceration reform a White House theme this week. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders; and on Tuesday, he spoke about reducing the prison population in a speech to the NAACP.

"The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners," Obama said. "Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's."

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U.S.
4:39 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Nationwide Crime Spike Has Law Enforcement Retooling Its Approach

Metropolitan Division officers finish another "rollback" operation. They searched the apartment of a paroled armed robber and gang member. These rollbacks are a cornerstone of the Metro Division's strategy of tracking people who may re-offend, and suppressing crime before it happens.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 9:30 am

Crime in America may be on the rise again. It's too early to talk about a national trend, but there have been troubling spikes in shootings and murders in big cities such as New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

Until recently, crime decreased steadily for two decades, and the national murder rate is half what it was in the early 1990s — so police departments are under pressure to crack down. But at the same time, their tactics are under more scrutiny from the public, and they have to be careful not to appear too heavy-handed.

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U.S.
5:04 am
Wed June 17, 2015

Scammers Turn To Caller ID 'Spoofing' To Pose As Police

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 6:18 pm

Most people know to hang up on con artists supposedly calling from the power company or the IRS, demanding money. The problem is, there's little the police can do — even when the scammers go so far as to impersonate the police themselves.

The fake police scam, or "spoofing," has been making the rounds for the last year or so.

Cmdr. Joseph Chacon of the Austin Police Department's intelligence division says they saw a wave of these calls this spring from people claiming to be Austin police.

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All Tech Considered
6:20 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

As Police Body Cameras Increase, What About All That Video?

Taser International is now selling police departments the technology to store videos from body cameras.
Patrick T. Fallon Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 7:09 pm

You know what a pain it can be storing and organizing the millions of videos you've shot on your smartphone. Now imagine you're a police officer, and you wear a body camera every day.

Police cams have suddenly become a big business. In the months since Ferguson, share prices for the camera manufacturer Taser International have doubled. But in the long run, the real money is in selling police a way to store all that video.

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All Tech Considered
4:33 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Questions Remain About How To Use Data From License Plate Scanners

License plate scanners have helped police locate stolen vehicles and have even assisted in murder investigations. But with their ability to track a person's every move, skeptics worry about privacy.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 7:52 pm

License plate scanners have become a fact of life. They're attached to traffic lights, on police cars — even "repo" staff use them. All those devices have created a torrent of data, raising new concerns about how it's being stored and analyzed.

Bryce Newell's laptop is filled with the comings and goings of Seattle residents. The data comes from the city's license plate scanner, acquired from the police through public disclosure requests. He plugs in a license plate number, uncovering evidence of long-forgotten errands.

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