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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Around the Nation
5:15 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Why Police Departments Have A Hard Time Recruiting Blacks

Police wearing riot gear walk toward a man with his hands raised Aug. 11 in Ferguson, Mo. Renewed calls for police departments to hire more minorities have followed the shooting there of a black man by a white police officer.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 9:41 am

Since the Ferguson, Mo., shooting, there have been renewed calls for police departments to hire more minority officers, but it turns out it's not that simple.

Police in the U.S. are more diverse than they were a generation ago. In the 1980s, 1 in 6 officers belonged to an ethnic or racial minority. Now it's about 1 in 4. The challenge these days is finding enough recruits to keep that trend going.

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Around the Nation
3:52 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Bush Pilot Helps Rural Alaskan Police Explore Isolated Villages

Bush pilot John Bouker (right) and village public safety officer Mike Myers (left) outside Bouker's Cessna 207. Bouker transports Alaskan cops to remote areas and helps pick up prisoners.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 7:09 pm

In order to reach what Alaskans call "The Bush" — villages isolated across tundra — you'll need a bush pilot. That's where John Bouker comes in.

Most of Bouker's passengers are civilians he transports to and from Alaska's remote villages. He does his job with the nonchalance of a suburban dad in a minivan dropping his kids off at the mall.

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Research News
4:05 am
Thu September 25, 2014

For Police, A Debate Over Force, Cop Culture And Confrontation

New York City police officers stand guard in Times Square earlier this month after a blog affiliated with the so-called Islamic State militants mentioned the area as a target for bombing.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 4:00 pm

Protests in Ferguson and New York this summer rekindled an old debate about how American police use force.

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Around the Nation
5:08 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Zero-Tolerance Policing Is Not Racism, Say St. Louis-Area Cops

Police arrest a woman in Ferguson, Mo., protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown. Most officers in Ferguson and nearby Jennings are white, but the neighborhoods they police are predominantly African-American.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:57 pm

The protests that followed the shooting death this month of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have rekindled long-standing complaints about racist policing, especially in the St Louis area.

Many male African-American residents there say police scrutinize them unfairly. "Every time you see a cop, it's like, 'OK, am I going to get messed with?' " says Anthony Ross. "You feel that every single time you get behind your car. Every time."

Now, police officers in and around St. Louis are becoming more vocal about defending themselves against the charges of bias.

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Men In America
4:10 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Freemasonry Still Alive And Well, And (Mostly) Men-Only

Danny Done, 26, worshipful master of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge in Seattle. The fraternity is "a really interesting social network that's not online," he says.
Martin Kaste NPR

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 10:17 am

The members of the Queen Anne Masonic Lodge near downtown Seattle are on the young side. The guy in charge is 26.

Danny Done, the lodge's worshipful master, is lounging on his designated chair in the room reserved for private ceremonies.

His title comes with a top hat, though he avoids putting it on — he says it makes him look dorky. But he does like other aspects of Masonic regalia, like his Templar sword. Done uses it to point to a diagram on the wall that charts out the different kinds of Masonry.

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Law
10:48 am
Sat August 23, 2014

Even Police Body Cameras Can Lose Sight Of The Truth

Many residents of Ferguson, Mo., would like to see the police wear video cameras, like this one worn by a Los Angeles police officer.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 12:12 pm

Ferguson, Mo., found a degree of civic calm this week after days and nights of angry clashes between protestors and the police.

Now the city is working to restore trust with residents after a white police officer fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9. City leaders and residents say one way to do that might be to equip police with personal video cameras.

"All the cops have to have body cameras and dashboard cameras," says resident Alonzo Bond, "so everybody can be accountable."

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All Tech Considered
5:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Can Cop-Worn Cameras Restore Faith In New Orleans Police?

Lt. Travis St. Pierre, of the New Orleans Police Department, shows off a body-worn camera during a press conference in January.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 1:23 pm

Body-worn video cameras are quickly becoming standard-issue for American police, especially at departments in the process of reform. And in New Orleans, the troubled police department is now requiring almost all officers to wear the cameras.

The city's police department has a dark history of corruption, racism and brutality. The low point may have been the Danziger Bridge episode, after Hurricane Katrina, when police shot unarmed people, then covered up the crime.

These days, the department is trying to rebuild the public's trust — which is where the body cameras come in.

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Law
5:57 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Invoking 'Castle Doctrine,' Mont. Man Pleads Not Guilty In Teen's Death

German student Diren Dede was fatally shot after he entered the garage of Markus Kaarma in Montana last month. Dede was on a one-year high school exchange program to the U.S.
Oliver Hardt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 8:21 pm

Montana resident Markus Kaarma pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murdering a German exchange student last month. Kaarma shot the 17-year-old while the student was trespassing in his garage. The case has attracted international scrutiny to the contentious debate over how far Americans may go when defending their homes.

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Education
3:22 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Wash. Loses 'No Child Left Behind' Waiver Over Teacher Evaluations

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:15 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Washington has become the first state to lose its waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act. Most states have waivers to some of the more stringent requirements of the 2001 federal law but those waivers come with conditions. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, Washington is being punished because it didn't fulfill a condition that is very dear to the Obama administration.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: What the administration wants is simple. Teachers should be evaluated, in part, on how their students do on standardized tests.

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The Salt
4:31 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

In The Land Of Razor Clams, Dinner Hides Deep Within The Sand

Clams this fresh taste like tender calamari.
Martin Kaste/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 12:49 pm

As soon as you drive into town, it's pretty clear that Long Beach, Wash., is all about the razor clam. The first clue is the giant frying pan. It's 14 feet tall and a relic of the clam festivals of the 1940s. And then there's the clam statue that spits when you insert a quarter.

But if you really want to see how much people here love their clams, you'd have to be like Karen Harrell and get up before dawn and drive out onto the blustery beach to go clam digging.

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