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.

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.

Two Los Angeles police officers will not face criminal charges in the 2018 shootout at a Trader Joe's store that injured the armed suspect the officers were pursuing, and resulted in the death of the store's assistant manager.

In a newly released memorandum from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, prosecutors determined the officers were justified in using deadly force because they were trying to protect themselves and the public.

Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is joining the bipartisan group No Labels as its new national co-chairman.

Hogan joins Joseph Lieberman, a one-time vice presidential nominee and former Connecticut senator, who served as a Democrat before switching to an independent in his final years on Capitol Hill.

Together they will help lead the organization that promotes centrist political ideas as a new Congress is set to convene early next year.

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 editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page has waded into the fracas surrounding the paper's controversial decision to run an opinion piece on incoming first lady Jill Biden that was widely criticized as sexist and demeaning.

A federal jury has found a former U.S. Marine guilty on multiple counts of attempting to illegally smuggle guns from the U.S. to Haiti. The Justice Department said there is evidence the man, who was an active duty Marine at the time, intended to train the Haitian Army "in order to engage in foreign armed conflict."

Jacques Yves Sebastien Duroseau, 34, a Haitian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, was found guilty Thursday after a three-day trial.

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.

A Wisconsin court commissioner overseeing the case of a teenager accused of killing two people and injuring a third during protests in Kenosha, Wis., this summer, has denied defense attorneys' request to dismiss two of the six charges facing Kyle Ritttenhouse.

During a preliminary hearing conducted via video link Thursday, Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner Loren Keating also said he found enough evidence that support the charges against Rittenhouse, 17, for the case to proceed to trial.

Updated at 3:37 p.m. ET

With confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spiking and the nation's job market struggling to pull itself out of the abyss caused by the pandemic, President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday formally announced the advisers who he hopes can guide the United States back to solid economic footing.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Officials in Arizona and Wisconsin have certified their states' presidential election results, affirming President-elect Joe Biden's razor-thin victories over President Trump in the two key swing states.

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET

With the American economy on uneven footing as coronavirus cases surge nationwide, President-elect Joe Biden formally announced top members of his incoming economic team on Monday.

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.

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."

Criminal charges for Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott and more than a dozen others have been dropped. Scott was part of a group arrested in September during a demonstration against the grand jury decision not to directly charge Louisville police officers over the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

As coronavirus cases spike in Michigan at an alarming rate, state officials announced a new emergency order sharply limiting indoor gatherings for three weeks.

Then a top Trump administration coronavirus adviser urged the state's residents to "rise up" against such measures, prompting the governor to respond that she is "not going to be bullied."

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas tweeted Sunday, "The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept."

Updated 7:00 a.m. ET Saturday

The Boston Red Sox have brought back one-time manager Alex Cora. Less than 10 months ago, the team parted ways with him for his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing cheating scandal during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The National Basketball Players Association has approved a plan to start the upcoming NBA season next month but said other details still need to be sorted out before the union and league can finalize the 2020-21 season.

Under this plan, the season would tip off on Dec. 22 and will include a 72-game schedule, the NBPA said in a statement.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

With both President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden still short of the 270 electoral votes needed to claim victory, anxious Americans are left with little to do but be patient and wait as election officials in key swing states furiously work to complete their vote tabulations.

Not long after The Associated Press and other news outlets declared Wednesday that Democrat Joe Biden had won Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes, the Trump campaign announced it would ask for a recount in the state.

The margin separating Biden and Trump in what is one of the nation's most contested swing states is roughly 20,000 votes, or less than 1%. It was absentee ballots in the cities of Milwaukee, Green Bay and Kenosha, added to county totals Wednesday morning, that appear to have put Biden on top.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Eta, the slow-churning storm barreling towards the eastern coast of Central America, was upgraded to "a major hurricane" Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It is now a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour, according to the NHC's 4 p.m. ET advisory, which adds the storm could produce "life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides."

With new coronavirus infections surging and area hospitals already at capacity, medical examiners in El Paso, Texas, have received a fourth refrigerated morgue to temporarily store bodies, a county official says.

It is a stark reality for a city where coronavirus patients have been succumbing to COVID-19 at a rate faster than medical personnel can investigate their cases. El Paso sits along the U.S. southern border and is referred to as part of the Borderplex, along with Mexico's Ciudad Juárez.

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.

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.

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