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.

Texas hit a significant milestone with four days to go before Election Day: The number of early voters who cast ballots in the Lone Star state this year passed the entire total cast in all of 2016.

So far, more than 9 million Texans have voted, according to a tally compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database.

With new coronavirus cases soaring and hospitals at capacity, a Texas judge issued a shelter-in-place order that shuts down nonessential businesses for El Paso and its surrounding areas.

The order, which calls for hair salons, gyms and restaurant dine-in services to close, went into effect just before midnight Friday local time. It is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 11.

The state's attorney general quickly denounced the order, who said the judge had no authority to enact such a measure.

Updated 4:45 p.m. ET

Philadelphia, still on edge following days of protests and unrest that engulfed the city in response to the police killing of a 27-year-old Black man, Walter Wallace Jr., experienced a relatively quiet night Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw vowed on Wednesday that the department would release "in the near future" 911 tapes and body camera footage worn by the officers involved with the killing.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET Thursday

Philadelphia officials issued a citywide curfew on Wednesday after consecutive nights of protests — which at times turned violent — following the fatal police shooting of a 27-year-old Black man, Walter Wallace Jr.

He was holding a knife when police shot him.

The was in effect from 9 p.m. Wednesday and lasts until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney lamented the looting and property destruction that's taken place during nighttime protests.

A Michigan judge has blocked a ban on openly carrying firearms at Michigan polling places on Election Day.

Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray granted a preliminary injunction to pro-gun groups who filed motions to block the directive issued by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Oct. 16.

Updated at 1:35 a.m. ET Wednesday

Several hundred troops from the Pennsylvania National Guard will be deployed to Philadelphia at the county's request, amid unrest following the shooting of a Black man on Monday.

Walter Wallace, 27, was killed after officers responded to emergency calls Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia. The city's mayor and police commissioner have promised a full investigation into the incident.

With new coronavirus cases on the rise, residents of El Paso, Texas, nestled on the U.S-Mexico border, are encouraged to stay home for two weeks as a judge imposes a mandatory curfew.

Noting that area hospitals are overrun and the positivity rate of residents has ballooned since the beginning of the month, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said he was "left with no choice" but to impose a countywide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

A police officer who shot and killed a young Black man and injured the man's girlfriend during a traffic stop last week in Waukegan, Ill., has been fired. City officials are expected to release police video of the encounter, which could come as soon as this week.

State and local officials attended a vigil Sunday in Waukegan, where attendees paid tribute to the deceased, Marcellis Stinnette, 19, and Tafara Williams, who is recovering from injuries sustained last week.

Researchers in Tulsa, Okla., have concluded their latest round of test excavations in the search for remains of Black victims killed during a race massacre nearly a century ago.

Tulsa officials said at least 11 coffins were discovered over four days of digging in specific areas of the city-owned Oaklawn Cemetery. It is one of the locations historians and researchers believe mass graves exist stemming from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Protesters in Waukegan, Ill., are calling for justice and urging federal authorities to open an investigation into the police killing earlier this week of Marcellis Stinnette, a young Black man.

Tafara Williams, the driver of the vehicle the pair was in at the time of the encounter, was also shot and is recovering from her injuries at a local hospital. Her relatives have told reporters that she was Stinette's girlfriend.

The men's basketball coach at Penn State University, Pat Chambers, has resigned following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET

A Minneapolis judge has dismissed the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, one of the four former police officers facing criminal charges in the May killing of George Floyd.

Chauvin, who was captured on cellphone video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, still faces a higher charge of second-degree murder. Chauvin's legal team filed a motion to have both charges dropped, but the latter was denied.

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 from 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.

The Department of Justice has set aside $3 million in grants and established a National Response Center aimed strengthening police reforms and reducing the use of excessive force by law enforcement.

Federal officials unveiled the initiative in Minnesota Tuesday and expressed hope the city of Minneapolis would be the first jurisdiction to take advantage of the program.

Six months after driver Kyle Larson was suspended for uttering a racial slur, NASCAR announced he's been reinstated and is eligible to return to the sport in January.

Larson, 28, was dropped from his racing team and quickly lost sponsors after saying the N-word in April while playing a video game that viewers could follow along. NASCAR moved to bar him indefinitely and ordered him to attend racial sensitivity training.

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.

Updated 4:27 p.m. ET

Excavation crews are breaking ground on Monday at a new site in Tulsa, Okla., in an effort to find the remains of Black victims of one of the nation's bloodiest race massacres.

This will be the second such excavation led by the city this year, as it tries to determine where the estimated 150 to 300 victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre were buried.

Historians say white mobs targeted the area of the city known as Black Wall Street, killing Black residents and looting and burning businesses, homes and churches to the ground.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson unveiled new restrictions on Friday that curb where people can carry firearms in the state on Election Day.

Her office said guns will be prohibited at polling places, clerk's offices and places where absentee ballots will be tallied. She is ordering individuals openly carrying guns in public not to come within of 100 feet of buildings containing polling places.

A Minnesota judge in the case of four ex-Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd ruled in favor of defense attorneys to allow video and transcripts of a previous police encounter with Floyd to be made public.

Amy Cooper, the white woman who was captured on cellphone video calling the police on a Black bird-watcher in Central Park this summer, also allegedly made a second 911 call. New York prosecutors say she falsely claimed the man "tried to assault her."

The second, previously unreported call was disclosed Wednesday, the same day she appeared at a hearing via video link to face a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

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.

A severed fiber optic line cable forced Virginia's online voter registration system to shut down for much of Tuesday, the last day for residents of the commonwealth to register for next month's general election.

The Virginia Department of Elections announced the issue on social media shortly before 10 a.m. local time. At about 3:30 p.m., it said the problem was resolved, nearly six hours after it began.

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.

Legendary New York Yankee Whitey Ford, the southpaw pitcher whose dominance during the 1950s and 1960s helped cement the Bronx Bombers as perennial champions, has died. He was 91.

The Yankees announced his death on their official Twitter page, calling Ford "one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber."

The organization did not disclose the cause of death. It added that "he will be sorely missed."

Shaun Lucas, a white police officer facing a murder charge in the killing of a Black man in Wolfe City, Texas, has been fired.

Lucas is accused of killing Jonathan Price on Saturday after he responded to a call about a possible fight in the city, which is about 70 miles northeast of Dallas.

Police in Minneapolis say more than four dozen people were arrested during protests Wednesday night. Demonstrators descended on downtown streets following the release of a former Minneapolis police officer who faces murder charges in the killing of George Floyd in May.

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.

A white Texas police officer has been arrested and charged with the murder of a Black man after a preliminary investigation determined the officer's actions "were not objectionably reasonable."

The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement late Monday that Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas first used his Taser, then later discharged his service weapon, striking and killing Jonathan Price.

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