Martin Kaste

Updated November 26, 2021 at 2:44 PM ET

Stock markets around the world tumbled on Friday after scientists in South Africa identified a new, fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average recording its biggest single-day drop of the year.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Deaths involving police have been greatly undercounted in the United States, and African American people die in such encounters at 3.5 times the rate of whites, according to a new analysis by public health researchers.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Sirhan Sirhan, the man convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy during a Los Angeles presidential campaign stop in 1968, was recommended for parole Friday in San Diego.

Two commissioners of the California Board of Parole made their recommendation after a review of Sirhan's record while in prison and hearing from two of Kennedy's sons, according to The Associated Press. Here's what we know.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Minneapolis voters will decide this November whether to end their city's police department, replacing it with a new "Department of Public Safety."

The city council last week signed off on language for a ballot question to change the city charter to create a new agency.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Another local government has voted to ban facial recognition technology - King County, Wash., which includes Seattle and its suburbs. NPR's Martin Kaste has this update on the national political movement to restrict the technology.

A couple of summers ago in Poulsbo, Wash., in a crowded park before a fireworks show, a man named Stonechild Chiefstick was bothering people, according to police. They got complaints about him seeming intoxicated and "doing crazy stuff."

At first, the cops just talked to him about it. But when they got a report that he'd threatened someone with a screwdriver, they went to arrest him. The encounter ended with police shooting and killing him.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

To talk about what this verdict might mean for law enforcement going forward, we are joined by NPR's Martin Kaste, who has been talking with his sources in police forces around the country.

Hi, Martin.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Hey, Ari.

This year's tax season comes with an extra source of stress: Will you find out that scammers claimed government money in your name?

Unemployment benefits fraud was rampant in 2020 as the government rushed to send out COVID-19 relief. The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General has estimated the amount of benefits stolen was at least $63 billion, based on earlier patterns of unemployment fraud. But a lot of the fraud is coming to light only now, during tax time.

The year of the pandemic was also the year of the gun. Shootings took off in almost every city, large and small. New York saw shootings double, and nationally, non-suicide gun deaths jumped about 25%, according to the independent Gun Violence Archive.

Law enforcement agencies around the country are dealing with the fallout of off-duty officers who took part in the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally that turned into a violent siege of the U.S. Capitol.

So far, more than 30 off-duty officers have been placed at the rally. In some cities, that fact has shaken confidence in the police.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Pages