Brakkton Booker | KBIA

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.

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.

The longtime Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney, who in recent weeks gained national attention for leading the prosecution of white police officers in the killing of Rayshard Brooks, was trounced in primary runoff on Tuesday by his former employee.

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.

Updated 5:32 p.m. ET

Former President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy Thursday at the funeral of civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis in Atlanta.

In his remarks, Obama issued a call to action for Americans to turn out to vote in the November election and linked Lewis' legacy to the modern-day civil rights movement sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd.

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.

The Remington Arms Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Alabama as it seeks to restructure for the second time since 2018 amid ongoing legal and financial challenges.

The 204-year-old U.S. gun-maker, among the best-known brands of firearms, filed for Chapter 11 protection Monday at a time when heightened anxieties linked to the coronavirus pandemic, a slowing economy and ongoing national protests following George Floyd's killing have led to record-high U.S. gun sales.

Confrontations continued overnight Sunday between protesters and federal law enforcement in Portland, Ore., as hundreds gathered in the city's downtown for the 60th consecutive day of demonstrations following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd. Tensions have continued to ratchet up due to the Trump administration's deployment of federal agents in the city.

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.

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.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

The NFL franchise in Washington, D.C., says it is officially retiring the moniker it has had for the past 87 years, which is widely viewed as a slur against Native Americans.

"Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review," the team said in a statement Monday.

The University of California Board of Regents has made by history naming Dr. Michael Drake as the 21st president of the UC system. He was unanimously approved by the board and will be the first person of color to hold the position in the system's 152-year history.

He recently stepped down as president of The Ohio State University, a position he's held since 2014.

Updated 7:38 p.m. ET

The WNBA season is scheduled to tip off later this month, and players hope fans marvel at their precision passes, shooting accuracy and speed during a fast break. But the league also hopes to shine a spotlight on another type of movement: the call for social justice reform.

The league and the Women's National Basketball Players Association announced the 2020 season will be dedicated to addressing the nation's "long history of inequality, implicit bias and racism" that disproportionately impacts communities of color.

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.

"Enough is enough," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said after an 8-year-old girl was killed and more than 20 other people were reported injured over a violent Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Atlanta Police Department is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of those responsible in the child's killing.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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."

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