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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Race
4:00 am
Thu April 2, 2015

More African-Americans Support Carrying Legal Guns For Self-Defense

Rick Ector trains new gun owners at a range just outside of Detroit. He supports more African-Americans getting permits to carry concealed weapons.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 2:26 pm

When James Craig was a young man in the 1970s, he says law-abiding people wouldn't dream of carrying guns. But then he left town to pursue a career in policing. In the years he was gone, Michigan liberalized its gun laws, making it easier for people to get concealed-carry permits.

When he came back to become Detroit's police chief in 2013, he found a whole new reality.

"You would have thought, given the dynamic of people who carry weapons, that we were maybe in Texas," he says. "But in fact, we were in Detroit, Michigan!"

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Around the Nation
4:58 am
Tue March 31, 2015

Front-End Of Tunnel-Boring Machine Freed From Seattle Pit

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 6:25 pm

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

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Law
5:14 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

To Catch Up On Unsolved Murders, Detroit Detectives Mine Cold Cases

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 6:35 pm

Criminologists say the country's poor homicide clearance rate could be improved if police departments put more effort into solving murders. To reduce the backlog in Detroit, homicide detectives are returning to old cases that might be solved with new techniques.

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U.S.
5:37 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Open Cases: Why One-Third Of Murders In America Go Unresolved

Detective Mark Williams (right) speaks with an officer in Richmond, Va. A decade ago, amid a surge in violent crime, Richmond police were identifying relatively few murder suspects. So the police department refocused its efforts to bring up its "clearance rate."
Alex Matzke for NPR

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 10:22 pm

If you're murdered in America, there's a 1 in 3 chance that the police won't identify your killer.

To use the FBI's terminology, the national "clearance rate" for homicide today is 64.1 percent. Fifty years ago, it was more than 90 percent.

And that's worse than it sounds, because "clearance" doesn't equal conviction: It's just the term that police use to describe cases that end with an arrest, or in which a culprit is otherwise identified without the possibility of arrest — if the suspect has died, for example.

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U.S.
5:12 am
Mon March 30, 2015

How Many Crimes Do Your Police 'Clear'? Now You Can Find Out

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 5:22 pm

Violent crime in America has been falling for two decades. That's the good news. The bad news is, when crimes occur, they mostly go unpunished.

In fact, for most major crimes, police don't even make an arrest or identify a suspect. That's what police call "clearing" a crime; the "clearance rate" is the percentage of offenses cleared.

In 2013, the national clearance rate for homicide was 64 percent, and it's far lower for other violent offenses and property crimes.

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Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

States Scramble To Deal With Shortages Of Execution Drugs

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 10:40 pm

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

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Law
4:29 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

System For Reporting Police Killings Unreliable, Study Finds

Originally published on Fri March 6, 2015 7:04 pm

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

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A new statistical analysis by the Justice Department estimates that the government has been undercounting the number of people killed by police. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, it's been undercounting those stats by half.

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Around the Nation
6:01 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Awash In Social Media, Cops Still Need The Public To Detect Threats

Some colleges and police departments are starting to use software that scans social media to identify local threats, but most tips still come from members of the public.
Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 24, 2015 11:30 am

On Valentine's Day weekend, Jonathan Hutson found himself exchanging tweets with somebody unpleasant: a Holocaust-denying anti-Semite, by the look of things.

Then Hutson looked up the person's earlier tweets. This guy was tweeting about shooting up a school. He said that he wanted to execute 30-plus grade-school kids."

So Hutson decided to draw the person out — "engage with him," as he puts it — to see if the threats were real.

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Law
10:18 am
Sat February 21, 2015

Police Are Learning To Accept Civilian Oversight, But Distrust Lingers

Late last month, a scuffle cut short a St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting where a committee was to discuss a proposed civilian review board for the city's police force.
Robert Cohen Courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:48 am

Late last month, during a meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, a shoving match broke out among members of the public — some of them off-duty police officers.

The cause of the tension was a proposal to create a new civilian oversight authority for the police. Advocates of police reform like civilian oversight, but police officers say the boards are often politicized and unfair to them.

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Around the Nation
4:38 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

Police-Involved Shooting In Washington Sparks Protest

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 6:26 pm

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U.S.
4:54 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

Family Confirms Death Of American Hostage Held By ISIS Militants

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 8:53 pm

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Middle East
7:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

American Hostage's Parents Say They Hope She Is Alive

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:19 am

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

Middle East
4:09 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

ISIS Claims Hostage American Woman Killed In Jordanian Airstrike

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 2:24 pm

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The Two-Way
9:07 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Arrested For Resisting Arrest — Yes, It's Possible

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:42 am

Earlier this week in a San Francisco courthouse, a deputy public defender named Jami Tillotson challenged police who were trying to take pictures of her client, and the police handcuffed her and took her away. The public defender's office angrily accused the officer of intimidation, but what caught our attention was the reason for her arrest.

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All Tech Considered
8:01 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Police Departments Issuing Body Cameras Discover Drawbacks

A Philadelphia police officer demonstrates a body-worn camera being used as part of a pilot project last December.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 1:03 pm

Wearable video cameras are fast becoming standard-issue gear for American police. The cameras promise a technological answer to complaints about racial bias and excessive force.

But in fact, the beneficial effects of body cameras are not well-established yet. And the police departments that rushed to buy them are now dealing with some unintended consequences.

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U.S.
4:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Obama's Policing Task Force Begins With Public Hearing

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:45 pm

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

Around the Nation
6:29 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

When Morale Dips, Some Cops Walk The Beat — But Do The Minimum

There's been a sharp decline in the number of arrests and tickets and summonses issued in New York City. Police sometimes use work slowdowns to show dissatisfaction with policies, workloads or contract disputes.
Justin Lane EPA/Landov

Police officers in New York City are not working as hard as usual.

For the past two weeks, the number of arrests, summonses and tickets issued has dropped dramatically, and many consider it a purposeful slowdown by officers who are angry at Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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Around the Nation
3:43 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Trial Of Polygraph Critic Renews Debate Over Tests' Accuracy

A screen shot of Doug Williams from one of his videos on how to beat a polygraph test.
Screen shot/Polygraph.com

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 6:23 pm

The federal government is throwing the book at one of the most vocal critics of the polygraph test.

Doug Williams, a man who makes his living teaching people how to beat the test, will go on trial in January on charges of witness tampering and mail fraud. But Williams' defenders say he's being punished by a government that has become overly dependent on polygraphs.

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Law
4:36 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

2014 A Tumultuous Year For Police Officers

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 6:48 pm

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

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Around the Nation
5:02 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Transparency Vs. Privacy: What To Do With Police Camera Videos?

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 10:06 am

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

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