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 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."

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.

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.

The Department of Defense is granting a posthumous promotion to Richard Collins III, a ROTC student at Bowie State University who was murdered in 2017, days after being commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Collins, who was black, was stabbed to death while visiting friends at the campus of the nearby University of Maryland. Sean Urbanski, a white student at the university at the time, has since been convicted of first-degree murder.

Updated 4:13 p.m. ET

The Basketball Hall of Fame's upcoming enshrinement weekend may be scratched from this year's calendar because of the coronavirus, President and CEO John Doleva confirmed Thursday.

As the federal government, public health experts and scientists push toward a coronavirus vaccine, a new survey suggests only about half of Americans say they will get one when it becomes available.

The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 49% of Americans overall say they plan to get a vaccination, while 31% of respondents say they are unsure if they will get vaccinated. The survey found 20% of respondents flat out said they will not.

Updated at 7:58 p.m. ET

A black man says he asked a white woman in Central Park to put her dog on a leash.

Then, video shows, she called the police and told emergency operators that the man was threatening her and her dog. The woman, who has been identified as Amy Cooper, has apologized. But by Tuesday afternoon, she was fired from her job at an investment management firm, the employer said.

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has downplayed claims made by the third man charged in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case that he was nothing more than a witness.

"I can tell you that if we believed he was a witness we wouldn't have arrested him," GBI Director Vic Reynolds said in a Friday news briefing.

President Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, was released from a federal prison and into home confinement Thursday.

His release comes amid concerns he could be exposed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, a fashion designer, have agreed to plead guilty in connection to the college admissions bribery scandal that federal investigators dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.

The U.S. Attorney's Office of the District of Massachusetts made the announcement Thursday, saying Loughlin will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

A home health aide in New Jersey accused of failing to self-isolate after undergoing a coronavirus screening is facing criminal charges after five people in a household where she worked tested positive for the coronavirus.

An 80-year-old female patient ultimately died from COVID-19 complications, state officials said.

Attorneys for one of the shooting suspects in the Ahmaud Arbery case said they believe they have uncovered enough information to convince a judge to free their client before the start of his murder trial.

"We do. We do," Franklin Hogue, one of the lawyers for Gregory McMichael said Friday when asked if he thought they had enough evidence to get him out of jail.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the government of the idyllic, sun-kissed destination Seychelles announced a ban on cruise ships in Port Victoria until 2022.

Didier Dogley, the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine, said the ban is effective immediately and will last until the end of next year, according to the Seychelles Nation, the national newspaper.

Citing the ongoing economic impacts caused by the coronavirus, Delta Air Lines said Thursday that it is removing the Boeing 777 and other older, higher-maintenance jets from its fleet in order to slash costs.

The move to retire the 18 wide-bodied 777 planes, considered a workhorse for the airline in its "ultra-long-haul markets," will take place at the end of the year. It is also a signal Delta does not anticipate strong demand for international travel in the near future.

Updated 12:32 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort was released from federal prison to home confinement early Wednesday morning due to concerns about coronavirus exposure, his attorney Todd Blanche tells NPR.

Manafort, who was once Donald Trump's presidential campaign chairman, is 71 years old and is serving a 7-year prison sentence.

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