Brakkton Booker

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.

He covers a wide range of topics including issues related to federal social safety net programs and news around the mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

His reporting takes him across the country covering natural disasters, like hurricanes and flooding, as well as tracking trends in regional politics and in state governments, particularly on issues of race.

Following the 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Booker's reporting broadened to include a focus on young activists pushing for changes to federal and state gun laws, including the March For Our Lives rally and national school walkouts.

Prior to joining NPR's national desk, Booker spent five years as a producer/reporter for NPR's political unit. He spent most to the 2016 presidential campaign cycle covering the contest for the GOP nomination and was the lead producer from the Trump campaign headquarters on election night. Booker served in a similar capacity from the Louisville campaign headquarters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014. During the 2012 presidential campaign, he produced pieces and filed dispatches from the Republican and Democratic National conventions, as well as from President Obama's reelection site in Chicago.

In the summer of 2014, Booker took a break from politics to report on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

Booker started his career as a show producer working on nearly all of NPR's magazine programs, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and former news and talk show Tell Me More, where he produced the program's signature Barbershop segment.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and was a 2015 Kiplinger Fellow. When he's not on the road, Booker enjoys discovering new brands of whiskey and working on his golf game.

Updated 4:57 p.m. ET

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday that U.S. agents who were sent to protect a federal courthouse in Portland from demonstrators will begin departing on Thursday.

The head of a powerful national teachers union told members Tuesday that its leadership would support "safety strikes" if health precautions are not met amid calls for schools to reopen as coronavirus cases surge.

Randi Weingarten, who leads the American Federation of Teachers, is leaving the final decision to local unions on whether to strike. The AFT — the nation's second-largest teachers union, with 1.7 million members — also unveiled several benchmarks that it said should be met before schools can fully welcome back students and staff.

Nearly a century ago, Tulsa, Okla., was the site of one of the most brutal race massacres in U.S. history. As many as 300 African American residents were slaughtered by white mobs, and a section of the city known as Black Wall Street was reduced to ash.

For decades, historians have been trying to determine where most of the victims were buried.

Officials in Allentown, Pa., have released a roughly ten-minute surveillance video showing officers subduing and arresting a man in front of a local hospital on Monday evening.

The man ends up face-down on the ground, and as two officers pin the man's arm behind his back, a third officer kneels on his neck.

A white woman who called the police and claimed a Black man was threatening her after he asked her to put her dog on a leash in New York's Central Park will be prosecuted over the incident, Manhattan's district attorney said Monday.

"Today our Office initiated a prosecution of Amy Cooper for Falsely Reporting an Incident in the Third Degree," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said in a statement.

The NBA and the league's players union announced Thursday nine more players have tested positive for the coronavirus. The news comes as the league is scheduled to resume games later this month.

The NAACP is planning a big move.

Leaders of the 111-year-old civil rights organization signed a letter of intent to relocate its headquarters from Baltimore, where it's been for decades, to Washington, D.C.

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of the District of Columbia, said the plan is to have the NAACP move to the city's historic U Street corridor.

Updated at 5:21 p.m. ET

A Fulton County Superior Court judge granted the former Atlanta police officer accused of shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot a bond of $500,000 on Tuesday.

Garrett Rolfe, who was fired from the Atlanta Police Department shortly after the June 12 killing of Brooks, will be required to turn over his passport if he has one, wear an ankle monitor and be subject to a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The government of Iran has issued an arrest warrant and has also requested assistance from Interpol in detaining President Trump as well as other U.S. military and political leaders in the killing of a prominent Iranian military commander this year.

Trump faces no real threat of arrest, but the new charges offer fresh evidence that tension between the U.S. and Iran shows no signs of subsiding.

The three white men accused in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot while he was jogging through a Glynn County, Ga., neighborhood this year, were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday.

Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, as well as William "Roddie" Bryan, were charged in May in the Feb. 23 killing of Arbery.

Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes announced the indictment on nine counts, including malice murder, felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will require visitors coming from other states with significant coronavirus cases to quarantine for a two-week period upon arrival.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the travel advisory would go into effect midnight Thursday. He was joined by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy at a midday press briefing.

Updated 7:41 p.m. ET

Mourners came to pay their respects to Rayshard Brooks at a public viewing in Atlanta Monday. The Black man was shot and killed during an encounter with white police officers earlier this month after he was discovered asleep in a car at a fast-food restaurant.

The viewing was held at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was a co-pastor.

Updated 3:50 a.m. ET Thursday

The white Atlanta police officer who shot a 27-year-old black man in the back last week in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant will face a charge of felony murder and 10 other charges, a Georgia county prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said Garrett Rolfe, who fired the fatal shots at Rayshard Brooks, could face a possible sentence of life without parole or the death penalty.

A group of Tulsa, Okla., residents, businesses and nonprofits tried to force event organizers to enforce social distancing protocols for this weekend's upcoming campaign rally for President Trump. In a lawsuit, they said the rally, which is to take place at an indoor arena, could act as a superspreader event for the coronavirus.

Updated 7:28 p.m. ET

George Floyd, whose killing by police inspired worldwide protests calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality, was taken to a cemetery for burial Tuesday in his hometown of Houston.

The black man died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes. A video captured by a bystander showed Floyd pleading for air and calling out for his mother.

Floyd, 46, was to be buried next to his mother.

President Trump is once again weighing in on a culture war topic he helped elevate: NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week that the league was "wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier" on issues of race and oppression.

David McAtee, owner of Yaya's BBQ, was a beloved fixture in the Russell neighborhood of Louisville, Ky., remembered as a pillar of the community and known to give out his food free of charge, even to local police officers.

His death at the hands of law enforcement has come as a shock to those who knew him.

McAtee, a chef, was killed early Monday morning at his barbecue business when Louisville Metro Police Department officers and National Guard troops responded to reports of a crowd gathered after the city's 9 p.m. curfew near the corner of 26th Street and Broadway.

Louisville Metro Police officials released security footage Tuesday of what they said appears to show a black businessman firing a weapon at law enforcement officers before they return fire, killing him.

Police said David McAtee, owner of Yaya's BBQ, began to shoot "outside his business door" early Monday morning as officers worked to clear a parking lot at a nearby establishment and then began moving toward his business.

Updated 2:25 p.m. ET

Protesters staged large-scale demonstrations across the country on Sunday, expressing outrage at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and, more broadly, anger at police brutality. Some cities, including Minneapolis, Atlanta and Louisville, saw clashes with police, buildings and cars set afire, and looting.

Updated 4:13 p.m. ET

The Basketball Hall of Fame's upcoming enshrinement weekend may be scratched from this year's calendar because of the coronavirus, President and CEO John Doleva confirmed Thursday.

As the federal government, public health experts and scientists push toward a coronavirus vaccine, a new survey suggests only about half of Americans say they will get one when it becomes available.

The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 49% of Americans overall say they plan to get a vaccination, while 31% of respondents say they are unsure if they will get vaccinated. The survey found 20% of respondents flat out said they will not.

President Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, was released from a federal prison and into home confinement Thursday.

His release comes amid concerns he could be exposed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The NFL announced an expansion of its rules guiding how clubs consider minority candidates for top coaching positions and front office jobs Tuesday, describing the changes as "wide-sweeping workplace reforms."

This comes the same day that the NFL is allowing teams to reopen their practice facilities, so long as certain health regulations are met and they're allowed to do so in their areas. League facilities have been shuttered for nearly two months out of concerns over the coronavirus.

A home health aide in New Jersey accused of failing to self-isolate after undergoing a coronavirus screening is facing criminal charges after five people in a household where she worked tested positive for the coronavirus.

An 80-year-old female patient ultimately died from COVID-19 complications, state officials said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the stay-at-home order enacted to help halt the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place until May 28, with the exception of a handful of areas around the state that have met benchmarks for reopening.

In an executive order issued late Thursday, Cuomo said five regions in the state — Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and the North Country — could move into phase one of reopening.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the government of the idyllic, sun-kissed destination Seychelles announced a ban on cruise ships in Port Victoria until 2022.

Didier Dogley, the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, said the ban is effective immediately and will last until the end of next year, according to the Seychelles Nation, the national newspaper.

Citing the ongoing economic impacts caused by the coronavirus, Delta Air Lines said Thursday that it is removing the Boeing 777 and other older, higher-maintenance jets from its fleet in order to slash costs.

The move to retire the 18 wide-bodied 777 planes, considered a workhorse for the airline in its "ultra-long-haul markets," will take place at the end of the year. It is also a signal Delta does not anticipate strong demand for international travel in the near future.

Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort was released from federal prison to home confinement early Wednesday morning due to concerns about coronavirus exposure, his attorney Todd Blanche tells NPR.

Manafort, who was once Donald Trump's presidential campaign chairman, is 71 years old and is serving a 7-year prison sentence.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

As the city of Los Angeles begins to ease some of the shelter-in-place restrictions put in the place to stem the spread of the coronavirus, another mandate will go into effect next week.

Anyone traveling through Los Angeles International Airport will be required to wear a mask or another type of face covering.

For sports-starved fans it was a welcome sight — even if delayed a few more hours by rain and a cloud of thick black smoke.

It was all part of opening day for the Korean Baseball Organization, which got underway Tuesday after a five-week delay caused by the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

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