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Planned as a protest, it was repurposed as a community barbecue with local police. The recent targeted attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge have law enforcement on edge. Some departments are telling officers to patrol in pairs when possible, and to be extra vigilant about possible ambush. Complicating matters is the question of how to interpret and react to the presence of a gun. With more Americans now exercising their legal right to carry firearms, police find themselves having to make rapid judgments about whether an armed citizen is a threat.

When you listen to the protesters, the message is clear: They think police are too quick to pull the trigger when faced with potential danger. The reality is that it's very difficult to tell whether this is something that's changing: The statistics on police use of force in the U.

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Investigators say a young African-American man named Micah Xavier Johnson was the sole attacker in Dallas Thursday night, when he shot 12 police officers, killing five. The attack came at the end of an otherwise peaceful march protesting police shootings. And we begin this morning with grim news out of Dallas. At least five police officers are dead and at least seven wounded after snipers opened fire during a demonstration in the city's downtown. Two civilians were also wounded in the attack. We're now going to bring in NPR's Martin Kaste, who's been monitoring police reaction around the country to this tragedy in Dallas.

Martin, what have you been seeing?


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Future Shock by Alvin Toffler was a huge sensation when it was published in The book perfectly captured the angst of that time and prepared society for more changes to come. Toffler died on Monday at the age of This story originally aired on July 26, , on All Things Considered. When cities settle cases of inappropriate or illegal force by police officers, they pay — a lot.

Chicago alone has paid out more than half a billion dollars since The horrific attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. He is the author of a study released Wednesday by the Justice Department examining reasons for the increase.


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During the Ferguson protests, America woke up to a surprising fact: There are no good national numbers on police conduct. While the federal government collects reasonably accurate crime statistics, it doesn't know much about law enforcement patterns such as racial profiling and police use of force. It turned out even the government's most basic statistic — the number of people killed by police — was way off.

FBI Director James Comey gave a speech this week about encryption and privacy, repeating his argument that "absolute privacy" hampers law enforcement.

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There were high-powered lawyers and dueling public relations strategies. But when police encounter a privacy technology run by volunteers, things can be a little different. For all the talk in the last couple of years about reforming police, there are limits to what the government can do. But there may be another way, and it involves insurance companies.

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John Rappaport, an assistant law professor at the University of Chicago, says he spent years studying police reform before it dawned on him to ask a basic question: What were the insurance companies doing? Last week's terrorist attacks in Brussels have police in the U. One question that often comes up is radio communications. In America, unlike Europe, most police radio chatter is on open frequencies. Paved streets become rutted dirt roads.

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They pass a steady stream of trucks carrying shipping containers from the port. As they approach their first destination — "One-hundred feet away. Eighty feet. A worker shouts from beyond the fence and Su tells him the group is shopping for used electronics. She says they want to fill a shipping container with printers to refurbish and sell in Pakistan. The door opens. The ground at their feet is littered with broken white tubes. These fluorescent lamps were made to light up flat-screens. When they break they release invisible mercury vapor. Even a minuscule amount of mercury can be a neurotoxin.

The New Territories used to serve only as a pass-through for smuggled e-waste, Puckett said, where workers would unload shipping containers and put electronics on smaller trucks bound for mainland China. Puckett has been investigating the afterlife of consumer electronics for nearly two decades.

Over the years, his team staked out U. Many U. In the video, villagers desoldered circuit boards over coal-fired grills, burned plastic casings off wires to extract copper, and mined gold by soaking computer chips in black pools of hydrochloric acid. Researchers later found the region had some of the highest levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the world due to its e-waste industry.

Now, more than a quarter-century after that treaty was written, and more than 15 years since he exposed Guiyu, Puckett said little has changed. Estimates of U. The United Nations says that between 10 and 40 percent of U. While the International Trade Commission — through a survey of recyclers — said in that a mere 0.

Puckett turned to GPS tracking technology as a new tool to determine just how big the e-waste export problem really might be. You see this kind of global e-waste flow that actually almost covered the whole planet. But a look over the fence reveals a lot the size of a football field piled 15 feet high with printers.

Workers are breaking them. Their clothes are dusted black with toner ink, a probable carcinogen known to cause respiratory problems. Su talks to the workers and finds out many are migrants from mainland China, who are residing in Hong Kong without the official documents required for them to legally be there, she says. They sell the most valuable components to buyers in mainland China, while workers indiscriminately dump the worthless leftovers.

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Burning e-waste is known to generate dioxins, a family of cancer-causing chemicals that endure for long periods of time in the environment and human body. More than a month after the fires, rusty metals and ashen plastics still emit chemical odors and blanket the soil along a nearby river. Cheung Kwai Choi, a farmer who has lived in the region for a half-century, said the e-waste junkyards and fires have multiplied in recent years.

Hong Kong bans the import of hazardous e-waste like cathode ray tubes and flat-screens from the United States and other developed nations, according to Environmental Protection Department spokesperson Heidi Liu. At two junkyards, Puckett finds labels from a library, a hospital and other organizations in Washington and Oregon. Then he finds a clue as to how these materials ended up here. Many boxes bear the logo for Total Reclaim, one of the largest electronics recyclers in the Pacific Northwest with contracts to handle e-waste from the City of Seattle , King County , the University of Washington , and the State of Washington.

Puckett started e-Stewards in to create a set of ethical and environmentally-friendly industry standards and prevent the export of toxic materials in lieu of federal laws. Total Reclaim was a founding member. Electronics recyclers with e-Stewards certification can export the raw plastics and metals that come from dismantling electronics. But they adopt a strict no-export policy with regard to whole electronics with hazardous materials still inside.

Recyclers can also exported used electronics as long as they've been tested and proven to be still functioning. In Dell created a take-back program called Dell Reconnect. That made it the first major computer manufacturer to ban the export of non-working electronics to developing countries. The computer maker partners with the nonprofit thrift store chain Goodwill Industries, which collects any brand of old computer for free to be refurbished or recycled.

BAN dropped off 28 tracked electronics at participating Goodwill locations and determined that six of the tracking devices went abroad — to Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and Thailand. Puckett followed those tracking devices overseas to junkyards in Hong Kong and Taiwan that import and dismantle whole electronics. The results showed that some of those exported electronics had been dropped off at green-certified recyclers.

BAN plans to conduct further investigations before reporting more about these recyclers. Both the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Washington Department of Ecology have launched investigations into whether Total Reclaim violated their state hazardous waste laws.

Oregon regulators have also asked the state Department of Justice to open an investigation into whether Total Reclaim violated consumer protection laws.

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Lorch said economic realities forced the company to renege on pledges to recycle all the waste that they collect. In recent years, LCD monitors have become a larger portion of the waste stream, but the flat-screens are expensive and time-consuming to dismantle. Prices for many commodities found in e-waste, a major source of revenue for electronics recyclers, have plunged in the past year.

In January, copper fetched half its price, hitting the lowest level in seven years. Plastics prices have bottomed out, recyclers say. Harris, from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, said those falling commodity prices have put many companies in trouble. In a bear market for commodities, exporting waste is more profitable than processing it domestically. Recyclers simply fill a shipping container with whole electronics and an e-waste broker arranges for pick up.

Printers, which hold little value, and LCD TVs, which are expensive to recycle because of the tedious dismantling work associated with mercury, make good candidates for export. Neu is the CEO of Hugo Neu, a New York-based e-waste recycler and e-Steward, that just months ago decided to shift its business model away from recycling. Now it only refurbishes electronics for resale. The United States has no federal laws banning the export of e-waste.

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