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.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office Thursday announced criminal charges for eight former state officials, including the state's former Gov. Rick Snyder, along with one current official, for their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis.

Together the group face 42 counts related to the drinking water catastrophe roughly seven years ago. The crimes range from perjury to misconduct in office to involuntary manslaughter.

Updated 3:15 p.m. ET

Local and federal security officials expect about 20,000 National Guard members to be involved in securing Washington, D.C., for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week.

"I think you can expect to see somewhere upwards of beyond 20,000 members of the National Guard that will be here in the footprint of the District of Columbia," Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said on Wednesday.

Updated at 9:28 p.m. ET

Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged Wednesday for his role in the Flint water crisis, an environmental disaster that contaminated the majority Black city's drinking water with lead nearly seven years ago.

Social media giants Twitter and Facebook have announced stricter measures on their platforms aimed at curbing misinformation and further unrest in response to last week's deadly insurrection led by pro-Trump extremists at the U.S. Capitol.

Facebook is targeting content with the phrase "stop the steal," referring to false claims of election fraud. Twitter is targeting accounts that focus on the QAnon conspiracy theory.

A Minnesota judge has ruled that the former Minneapolis police officer seen in cellphone video kneeling on George Floyd's neck for several minutes last summer, will stand trial alone in March.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled that the trial for Derek Chauvin, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd's death, will begin on March 8.

Hours after congressional lawmakers certified his Electoral College victory affirming he will be the next president, Joe Biden took to social media to express what countless others have before him.

If the largely white, pro-Trump insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol had been Black Lives Matter protesters, there would have been a starkly divergent law enforcement response than what played out Wednesday afternoon.

Updated 5:08 p.m. ET

Kyle Rittenhouse, a young gunman facing criminal charges in the killing of two men and the serious injury of a third this summer in Kenosha, Wis., entered not guilty pleas to all charges during an arraignment Tuesday.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday afternoon that the state had identified its first case of the U.K. variant of the coronavirus. Cuomo said the individual was a jewelry store worker in his 60s in Saratoga Springs who had no known travel history suggesting community spread of the variant is happening. The man is now recovering, Cuomo said.

Updated 3:32 p.m. ET

The start of the NBA 2020-2021 season is already off to a bumpy start with the postponement of the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder matchup Wednesday because of coronavirus issues.

It was just Day 2 of competition for the fledgling NBA season.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an aggressive new measure aimed at keeping a new variant of the coronavirus that is sweeping across London and southern England from spreading to the largest city in the United States.

The mayor said effective immediately, law enforcement officials will be deployed across the city to enforce its 14-day quarantine for anyone flying into New York City from the United Kingdom.

Antarctica is no longer the only continent free of the pandemic.

Thirty-six people stationed at the General Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme Antarctic base had tested positive for the virus, Chilean officials said this week. The permanent research station is located on tip of the continent south of Chile.

The head of the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech expressed confidence that his company's vaccine would be effective against a coronavirus variant rapidly infecting people across London and southern England.

U.K. officials have warned the new variant is likely to be more contagious than the various strains already circulating, though there is no evidence suggesting it is more deadly.

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Monday attempted to reassure skittish European neighbors that his government had the threat of a new strain of the coronavirus under control.

In a press conference at No. 10 Downing St., Johnson also said he was in talks with France, one of several nations that have banned entry from the U.K. since the weekend, causing chaos for travelers and cargo shipments.

Updated at 9:12 p.m. ET

Confirmed coronavirus infections and virus-related deaths are soaring in California, the nation's most populous state, setting new records as hospitals struggle to keep up with the onslaught of cases.

It has prompted the state to activate its "mass fatality" program, which coordinates mutual aid across several governmental agencies.

Major League Baseball has for years acknowledged the contributions and the legacy of the thousands of Black athletes who played in the Negro Leagues.

On Wednesday, the league went a step further, saying it was officially "correcting a longtime oversight in the game's history" and recognizing those professionals as Major League-caliber players. The league said it will also include their statistics and records as part of MLB history.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's senior official for infectious diseases, predicts the United States could begin to achieve early stages of herd immunity against the deadly coronavirus by late spring or summer. And if that happens, Fauci anticipates, "we could really turn this thing around" toward the end of 2021.

With nation's confirmed coronavirus infections surging, the NCAA announced Monday it plans to stage the entire Division I women's basketball tournament in one geographic area when it tips off in March.

Talks are already underway with officials in San Antonio to host the 64 teams that will compete in the single-elimination tournament.

NCAA officials said it aims to limit the spread of the virus by cutting down on the amount of travel required by teams.

The Department of Justice announced Tuesday it is joining the investigation into the death of 23-year-old Casey Goodson, a Black man who was shot and killed by law enforcement in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday.

U.S. Attorney David DeVillers of the Southern District of Ohio said the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and the FBI, along with the Columbus Division of Police, are all investigating the case.

Updated at 4:02 p.m. ET

Authorities in Ohio have identified a longtime Franklin County sheriff's deputy as the law enforcement officer who shot and killed a Black man in Columbus last Friday.

Law enforcement said the man was waving a gun while driving. His family said he was shot while carrying a bag of sandwiches outside his house.

The sheriff's office said the deputy who fired the shots, Jason Meade, a 17-year veteran of the force, was assigned full time to a U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force at the time of the incident.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday selected Dr. Rochelle Walensky to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when his administration takes office next month.

Walensky teaches at Harvard Medical School and is an infectious disease physician at both Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, according to her biography on the former hospital's website.

A wide-ranging survey shows Americans' willingness to receive a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes publicly available and confidence in its effectiveness are on the rise.

But when broken down by racial or ethnic group, Black respondents show the most reluctance, with less than half saying they will do so.

As the nation grapples with issues of racial injustice and social inequality, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing to remove the so-called slavery loophole from the United States Constitution.

With the adoption and ratification of the 13th Amendment 155 years ago, the practice of slavery formally ended in this country, but it did not strip away all aspects of involuntary servitude.

With new coronavirus infections raging across the nation, El Paso, Texas, which has hit particularly hard by the virus, implemented a new curfew that started just after midnight Wednesday local time.

According to the order, the curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily is slated to run through Nov. 30.

Updated at 12:27 a.m. ET Tuesday

The Monday Night Football matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams made history, but it had nothing to do with the two teams vying for playoff seeding.

For the first time, the league assembled an all-Black officiating crew, led by Jerome Boger, a 17-year NFL official.

Rounding out the seven-member crew: umpire Barry Anderson, side judge Anthony Jeffries, line judge Carl Johnson, down judge Julian Mapp, field judge Dale Shaw and back judge Greg Steed.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his family are quarantining after learning some members of his family came into contact with a California Highway Patrol officer who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

In a series of tweets Sunday, Newsom, a Democrat, said three of his children had come into contact with the officer, but that he and his wife did not.

As the coronavirus infection rate continues to skyrocket across the United States, officials in one of the nation's hardest-hit regions, El Paso County, Texas, have posted job openings for morgue workers as the number of local deaths from the virus mounts.

This comes as officials had been relying on low-level inmates from the county jail to assist with moving remains of the deceased.

With a national surge in newly confirmed coronavirus cases, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has issued an executive order allowing some inmates to be released early from the state's correctional facilities to help stem the pandemic among both prisoners and prison employees.

The order comes as the Republican governor also issued new statewide restrictions for the general population.

The Australian state of South Australia is entering a mandatory lockdown lasting six days that began at midnight Thursday local time, with residents required to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.

Officials also said many outdoor activities, including exercise outside of the home, are prohibited. Only one person per household is permitted to leave the home on a single day for essential activities, such as going to the grocery store.

Facial coverings in public are mandatory.

Stanford University appeared to distance itself from Dr. Scott Atlas, a prominent member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, following his remarks that residents of Michigan should "rise up" against the state's new coronavirus restrictions.

Stanford officials said in a statement that Atlas' position was his alone, and his comments were "inconsistent with the university's approach in response to the pandemic."

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the NCAA to scrap its traditional multi-city Division I Men's basketball tournament format in 2021. Instead, the NCAA plans to host all of March Madness in a single area in the spring, officials announced Monday.

The NCAA said it is holding talks with officials from the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to host the 68-team tournament in March and early April.

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