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 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.

In a year marked by coronavirus fears, a slowing economy and nationwide protests calling for an end to systemic racism, more and more Americans are looking to arm themselves, according to a key government indicator.

The FBI reported that Americans set a new record of 3.9 million background checks to purchase or possess firearms in June. That eclipsed the previous record set in March of 3.7 million background checks.

The New York City Council approved an $88.1 billion budget overnight that includes shifting roughly $1 billion away from the New York Police Department.

For the past week, the city has seen "defund NYPD" demonstrations, where crowds have gathered at City Hall and outside of the residences of some members of the city council.

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 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.

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 San Jose Police Department said it has placed four police officers on administrative leave. It is investigating allegations that they posted racist and anti-Muslim messages in a private Facebook group.

"We have no place for this," SJPD chief Eddie Garcia said in a written statement. A spokesperson for the police department did not identify the officers.

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.

Two statues toppled, including one of an abolitionist. Several windows smashed at the state Capitol. A state senator attacked by a group of demonstrators. A small fire set outside a local jail.

Those are some of the scenes that played out late Tuesday and early Wednesday in Wisconsin's capital of Madison.

The arrest of a Black man earlier Tuesday sparked the unrest. He was taken into custody after bringing a megaphone and a baseball bat into a restaurant on the city's Capitol Square.

Updated at 6:41 p.m. ET

The funeral for Rayshard Brooks, the Black man who was fatally shot during an encounter with police at a fast food restaurant earlier this month, was an emotional and triumphant send-off for a man killed in the midst of the nation's latest moment for racial and social reckoning.

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.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says he supports the calls by the American Museum of Natural History to remove a "problematic statue" of Theodore Roosevelt that many say is a symbol of oppression and racial discrimination.

The statue, officially named Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt, was unveiled 80 years ago, and sits at the entrance of the museum.

The museum and the mayor cite the statue's composition as the main concern, rather than Roosevelt's legacy.

Updated 4 p.m. ET

The half brother of Robert Fuller, a black man found hanging from a tree last week in Southern California, was shot and killed during an interaction with Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, according to a statement from a lawyer for the Fuller family.

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.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is on board with any of the NFL's 32 franchises signing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then it's obviously going to take a team to make that decision," Goodell said during an interview with ESPN.

"But I welcome that, support the club making that decision and encourage them to do that."

Ben Carson, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and lone African American in President Trump's cabinet, suggested that he's spoken with the president about professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem.

When asked whether Trump might ease up on his public hostilities towards athletes who take a knee, Carson responded, "He'll get there."

Hundreds of protesters descended on the Georgia state capitol Monday to demand an end to systemic criminal justice failures including police brutality, voter suppression and to abolish the state's citizen arrest law.

The demonstration came as state lawmakers returned to work after the current session was halted for three months amid concern about the spread of the coronavirus.

A NASCAR team debuted a new "Blue Lives Matter" paint scheme on its Chevy Camaro over the weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Xfinity Series driver Kyle Weatherman and his racing team said it was a show of solidarity with law enforcement officers and first responders to thank them for their "service, sacrifice and dedication."

Mourners will have an opportunity Friday to pay their respects to David McAtee, a black man who was shot to death earlier this month when officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department and Kentucky National Guard troops converged on a crowd.

Updated at 12:05 a.m. ET Thursday

Cable network A&E announced Wednesday that it has canceled production of its popular unscripted series Live PD amid ongoing nationwide protests following the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in police custody last month in Minneapolis, Minn.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. has made history.

The Senate unanimously confirmed the four-star general as the U.S. Air Force's chief of staff in a 98-0 vote, making him the first African American to lead a U.S. military service.

His historic confirmation comes as the United States is grappling with its history of racial injustice and systemic mistreatment of black communities by law enforcement.

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.

Updated 10:50 p.m. ET

Mourners gathered for a final public memorial to George Floyd on Monday in his hometown of Houston.

Floyd, who was killed by police on May 25, was honored Monday afternoon at The Fountain of Praise church during a viewing that drew a stream of visitors through the day.

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.

William "Roddie" Bryan told investigators he overheard Travis McMichael use a racial epithet after fatally shooting a black man in Glynn County, Ga., in February, according to court testimony Thursday by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation official.

Bryan told law enforcement officials that McMichael uttered "f****** n*****" after shooting Ahmaud Arbery three times with his Remington 870 shotgun and prior to police arriving on the scene.

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.

Voters in Ferguson, Mo., made history Tuesday by electing Ella Jones as the city's first black mayor.

The election took place as protesters filled the streets of many U.S. cities, rallying against systemic racism and police brutality faced by many black communities.

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.

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