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.

One of the Louisville police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor seven months ago said while her death was tragic, it is different than other high-profile killings of Black Americans this year.

"It's not a race thing like people try to make it to be," said Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, one of the three officers who discharged their service weapons during the botched narcotics raid at Taylor's home in the early hours of March 13.

Health officials in Michigan issued a stay-in-place order for undergraduate students at the University of Michigan, effective immediately, as new confirmed coronavirus cases spike. One big exception: Football.

The public health directive does not apply to varsity student athletes, who are exempt and allowed to take part in practices and competitions.

Washtenaw County, which includes University of Michigan's campus in Ann Arbor, announced the order Tuesday. It is effective through 7 a.m. on Nov. 3.

One of the top African American executives in Hollywood, Channing Dungey, was named chairman of the Warner Bros. Television Group on Monday.

She will replace Peter Roth, who is stepping down early next year after running the television group for more than two decades.

Dungey previously served in executive roles at ABC and most recently Netflix where she was the streaming giant's Vice President Original Content and Head of Drama.

The white teenager accused of fatally shooting two demonstrators and injuring a third in Wisconsin in August will not be charged with gun crimes in his home state, an Illinois state prosecutor announced.

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, faces six criminal counts in Wisconsin, including first-degree intentional homicide. He allegedly used an AR-15-style rifle during protests in Kenosha, Wisc., that erupted after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

One of the nation's most prestigious universities has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in back pay to female professors following allegations of pay discrimination.

The Ivy League university will pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future wages, as part of an agreement announced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

One of country music's hottest stars says his invitation to appear this weekend on Saturday Night Live has been revoked.

Morgan Wallen, whose hits include "Whiskey Glasses" and "7 Summers," posted an emotional video to his Instagram page saying show executives nixed his appearance for violating coronavirus safety protocols.

A California district attorney says her office is reopening its investigation of the shooting death of Oscar Grant, a Black man who was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer more than a decade ago.

The announcement was made Monday on the heels of a rally held by Grant's family in Oakland demanding new charges be filed against one of the officers involved in the deadly encounter.

Updated 6:24 p.m. ET

The mayor of Rochester, N.Y., Lovely Warren entered a not guilty plea Monday afternoon to campaign finance fraud charges. If convicted, she could be removed from office and be disbarred.

The mayor was released under her own recognizance.

The court appearance comes three days after the second-term mayor and two political associates were indicted on charges they knowingly committed finance violations stemming from the 2017 reelection campaign.

Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Ky., said Tuesday he has declared a state of emergency for the city "due to the potential for civil unrest."

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is poised to announce whether his office will bring charges against the police officers who fatally shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor during a botched narcotics raid at her home on March 13.

The mayor reiterated he has no insight about when Cameron's decision will be announced, but he said the city must be prepared.

A Salt Lake City police officer is facing a felony charge stemming from an April encounter in which he ordered a police dog to attack a Black man who was on his knees with his hands raised, seemingly complying with officer commands.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

The city of Louisville, Ky., announced a $12 million settlement Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor.

The settlement also includes a series of police reforms to be adopted by the Louisville Metro Police Department, including establishing a housing incentive program to encourage officers to live in low-income neighborhoods within the city.

Other changes to police tactics include creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations.

Demonstrators gathered to protest the death of 27-year-old man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Lancaster, Pa., over the weekend.

The Lancaster District Attorney's office said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing, and that the man, identified as Ricardo Munoz, was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by an officer who has not been publicly identified.

Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall, the first Black woman to head the department, has announced that she is stepping down from the post. Her resignation follows criticism over the department's response to protests against racism and police violence.

A lawsuit filed by a group of Oklahomans is seeking reparations from the city of Tulsa and other local government entities for the ongoing devastation caused by one of the most heinous race massacres in U.S. history nearly 100 years ago.

Protests over a police shooting of a Black father in Kenosha, Wis., continued for a fourth straight night on Wednesday. Though the gatherings again defied the county-imposed curfew, the demonstrations remained mostly peaceful.

The crowds were smaller than on previous nights, and the relative calm was a stark contrast to the scene that unfolded during the third night of protests, which turned chaotic and deadly.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases linked to a wedding reception earlier this month in Maine continues to rise.

At least 53 people have been infected with the virus, officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported over the weekend, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The paper notes that state health investigators have traced both "secondary and tertiary transmission of the virus."

A group of Republicans on the Louisville, Ky., city council are calling for a vote of no-confidence in the city's Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer, citing his "actions and inactions" as it relates to the city's homicide rate and his handling of the Breonna Taylor case.

The Louisville Metro Council's Republican Caucus unveiled a resolution on Monday, that if passed, would seek the mayor's resignation.

A former Georgia state trooper is facing felony murder and aggravated assault charges after he allegedly shot and killed a 60-year-old Black man during a traffic stop this month.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Friday that Jacob Gordon Thompson, 27, was to be booked in the Screven County Jail in connection with an officer-involved shooting on Aug. 7 that resulted in the death of Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday she is delaying New Zealand's general elections by about a month as the nation moves to contain a new cluster of COVID-19 cases in its most populous city, Auckland.

Ardern, who has the sole authority to set elections for the country, said she consulted the heads of the major political parties before setting the new date.

Voting was originally scheduled for Sept. 19 but will now take place Oct. 17.

Breonna Taylor's mother says she hopes investigators will "come out with the right answer" about her daughter's death as Taylor's family renews their call for criminal charges against the Louisville police officers who shot and killed Taylor five months ago.

"One hundred and fifty days," Tamika Palmer, Taylor's mother, said Thursday at a news conference in front of Louisville City Hall.

One of golf's most iconic tourneys, the Masters Tournament, will be played without spectators when the sport's best players tee up in Augusta, Ga., in the fall. The competition was already postponed from its usual slot in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament, now scheduled for Nov. 12-15, will be "conducted without patrons or guests," officials said.

Updated 6:32 p.m. ET

Two major college conferences — the Big Ten and Pac-12 — each announced Tuesday they were sidelining college football and other fall sports because of the coronavirus, just weeks before schools were scheduled to play their first games.

The Big Ten, which includes universities with powerhouse sports programs, such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State, said it will look at holding some competitions in the spring.

A coronavirus outbreak has been discovered at the Georgia high school that drew national attention last week after photos and videos of crowded hallways and unmasked students went viral on social media.

Nine people at North Paulding High School tested positive for the coronavirus after the first week of in-person instruction, according to officials in Paulding County, an outer suburb of Atlanta.

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.

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