Martin Kaste

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And it just got a bit more difficult to buy illegal drugs and other contraband online. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made this statement today.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's rare for a law enforcement officer to be convicted of homicide for shooting someone while on duty. According to a new NPR data analysis, 2,400 people have been killed this way in the last two and a half years; the vast majority of those cases were found to be justified, but NPR found 20 officers who faced charges. Of those, six have been convicted or pleaded guilty.

On Monday, Seattle officials released dash cam audio of a Sunday morning police shooting that left Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of three, dead. The two Seattle police officers had been called to Lyles' apartment so she could report a burglary.

The shooting is under investigation by the Seattle Police Department's Force Investigation Team, and also SPD's Office of Professional Accountability, but here's what we know now:

Some conservatives have seized on Wednesday's shooting of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise and three others as the latest example of what they see as rising political violence from the left. Fox News' Sean Hannity accused Democrats of "dehumanizing" Republicans, and the right-leaning Washington Times ran an editorial by a Tea Party activist that called leftist protests "the first skirmishes of the second American civil war."

Reality Winner, the government contractor accused of leaking a secret NSA report to the media, plans to enter a plea of not guilty, her lawyer Titus Nichols tells NPR.

She hopes to be released on bond Thursday.

Winner, 25, works for a private contractor, Pluribus International Corp., in Augusta, Ga., and is an Air Force veteran who speaks three languages. She was arrested Saturday.

As horrific as mass shootings are, they are outliers. The vast majority of gun deaths in America are either suicides or one-on-one shootings. Mass shootings represent a small fraction of deaths by firearm.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

There were shouting matches, even some violence, yesterday in Portland, Ore., when a group of President Trump supporters ran into angry counterdemonstrators. Here's NPR's Martin Kaste.

Body cameras are spreading fast through American policing, and they're generating an ocean of video. Axon, a company that provides secure cloud storage for police departments, says it has received more than 4 million hours' worth of video uploads from its clients.

Cops have a decent shot at catching run-of-the-mill online scammers — say, the guy selling a car that's just too good to be true on Craigslist. But catching ransomware attackers is generally much more difficult — unless they slip up.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election because of allegations that he sexually abused minors three decades ago.

Murray is a skilled, bare-knuckled politician and it was assumed he would cruise to re-election this year.

But a few weeks ago, he was sued by Delvonn Heckard, 46, who says that back in the 1980s, Murray paid him for sex when Heckard was a minor.

The Justice Department decided not to charge the officers involved last July in the fatal shooting of a black man, Alton Sterling.

The decision is being met with anger by activists who say prosecutors are too deferential toward cops — and are too quick to let them off. That notion has been front and center since the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Mo., that followed the death of Michael Brown.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

It was the world's biggest tunneling machine when it first chewed into the loose dirt and gravel on Seattle's waterfront in 2013. With a cutting head nearly 60 feet wide, it had been built in Japan and shipped across the Pacific to dig a two-mile-long double-decker highway tunnel under downtown.

The machine was named "Bertha" in honor of a 1920s-era mayor — the prefatory "Big" always implied, never stated.

Why don't the police fire warning shots? That's a question that comes up a lot, especially after controversial shooting deaths.

Last fall, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and 10 other law enforcement groups got together to work out a consensus policy on the use of force — a sort of model document for local departments that want to update their rules. When the document came out in January, it contained a surprise: It allowed for warning shots.

In 2014, the New Orleans Police Department made a bold move into body cameras, requiring all uniformed officers to wear them and record their contact with the public.

The program got off to a rough start: NPR documented spotty use by officers, and, crucially, how hard it was for the office of the city's independent police monitor — which handles complaints about police misconduct — to gain access to videos of police use of force.

Murders are on the rise in the United States.

The national murder rate jumped dramatically in 2015, and early indications are that it rose again in 2016, though official numbers aren't available yet.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order promising to withhold federal money from what it calls sanctuary jurisdictions. What's not clear is which cities and counties qualify for this punishment, and whether this kind of federal pressure is even legal.

Sgt. Marty Tucker thinks millennials have trouble talking to strangers. Tucker runs training for the Sheriff's Office in Spokane, Wash., and he says new recruits seem inhibited when making face-to-face contacts with members of the public.

"They're so stressed out about making contact that they don't think about anything else," he says. "So they get up there, and then they'll freeze up."

The darkest moment for American police this year was July 7 in downtown Dallas, when police officers providing security for a peaceful protest march suddenly found themselves under attack. And those weren't the only cops targeted this year. Deadly ambushes followed in Baton Rouge, Des Moines and Palm Springs.

As a result, many police will remember 2016 as a grim chapter in what many call the "war on cops." These ambush-killings of officers created a sense that they were under siege, threatening to poison the post-Ferguson debate over police reform.

During the campaign, Donald Trump railed against "sanctuary cities" — generally understood to be jurisdictions where local law enforcement doesn't cooperate sufficiently with federal immigration authorities. Sanctuary cities were an especially hot issue because of the death of Kate Steinle, a tourist shot by a Mexican national in San Francisco in 2015.

Gun control has been a minor theme of this year's presidential election, as Hillary Clinton promises to close "loopholes" in the background checks for gun purchasers, and Donald Trump pledges "unwavering support" for the Second Amendment.

The real battle over guns, though, has been waged at the state level this year — with a new emphasis on ballot initiatives.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Law enforcement is increasingly worried about losing access to powerful tools for searching social media because of changing attitudes at the social media companies that allow the searches.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Americans are seeing more homeless camps, especially on the West Coast. A number of cities there have declared emergencies over the problem, and as they struggle to find solutions, an angry debate has broken out about how much tolerance should be shown to illegal camps that crop up in public spaces.

The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African-American man, by Charlotte, N.C., police is under investigation and the circumstances are very much in dispute, but when you listen to protesters, you hear that their frustration isn't about just this one case.

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, many beloved public spaces were abruptly closed or had their access severely restricted. At the time, the public generally resigned itself to the new restrictions as a necessary evil in a time of war.

Fifteen years later, the public has stopped noticing. In some cases, such as scenic overlooks at certain dams, the government spent millions on new roads and bridges to allow the public access from less risky positions. But in other places, the restrictions remain, and it's the public space itself that has faded from view.

When should police be able to deactivate your social media account?

The question is becoming more urgent, as people use real-time connections in the middle of critical incidents involving law enforcement.

In the case of Korryn Gaines in Baltimore County, Md., earlier this month, police said that a suspect actively using a social media connection makes a standoff worse.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pages