Brakkton Booker | New Hampshire Public Radio

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.

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.

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 than 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

Hurricane season, like many other aspects of life, has reached peak 2020.

When Tropical Storm Wilfred and Subtropical Storm Alpha formed on Friday, they became the 21st and 22nd named storms of the season. Not long after them, weather forecasters spotted Tropical Storm Beta.

Put another way, this marks just the second time in history that forecasters have had to resort to the Greek alphabet because available storm names have been exhausted.

The mother of Breonna Taylor says that if the police reforms announced this week by officials in Louisville were in place six months ago, her daughter might still be alive.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency room technician, was fatally shot by Louisville police during a botched narcotics raid at her home during the early morning hours of March 13.

A decision on whether to bring charges against the three officers who carried out the raid is expected in the coming days.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

The city of Louisville, Ky., announced a $12 million settlement Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor.

The settlement also includes a series of police reforms to be adopted by the Louisville Metro Police Department, including establishing a housing incentive program to encourage officers to live in low-income neighborhoods within the city.

Other changes to police tactics include creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations.

Updated 4:13 p.m. ET

Thousands of demonstrators braved sweltering temperatures in the nation's capital on Friday to demand an overhaul of the country's criminal justice system and push for racial equality.

The event, called the Commitment March, was held at the Lincoln Memorial, the same site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called for those same reforms decades ago in his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Updated 6:30 p.m. ET

Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot multiple times at close range by police in Kenosha, Wis., over the weekend, is currently paralyzed from the waist down, according to the family's attorney.

"Praying it's not permanent," civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases linked to a wedding reception earlier this month in Maine continues to rise.

At least 53 people have been infected with the virus, officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported over the weekend, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The paper notes that state health investigators have traced both "secondary and tertiary transmission of the virus."

The white St. Louis couple who attracted national attention for brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters in June will be back in the spotlight next week, this time as speakers at the Republican National Convention.

Joel Schwartz, one of the lawyers for Mark and Patricia McCloskey, confirmed to NPR Tuesday the couple has been invited to take part, but it remains unclear on what day, as final details are still being worked out.

A former Georgia state trooper is facing felony murder and aggravated assault charges after he allegedly shot and killed a 60-year-old Black man during a traffic stop this month.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Friday that Jacob Gordon Thompson, 27, was to be booked in the Screven County Jail in connection with an officer-involved shooting on Aug. 7 that resulted in the death of Julian Edward Roosevelt Lewis.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday she is delaying New Zealand's general elections by about a month as the nation moves to contain a new cluster of COVID-19 cases in its most populous city, Auckland.

Ardern, who has the sole authority to set elections for the country, said she consulted the heads of the major political parties before setting the new date.

Voting was originally scheduled for Sept. 19 but will now take place Oct. 17.

Newly released officer-worn body camera video is giving a fuller view of the tense scene in which George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. In it, bystanders clamor for officers to check Floyd's vital signs as Officer Derek Chauvin holds his knee on the man's neck.

The video, from former Officer Tou Thao, shows another vantage of Floyd's arrest as well as Thao's interactions with a crowd of bystanders. The recording was released by a judge's order in Hennepin County, Minn.

Newly released officer-worn body camera video is giving a fuller view of the tense scene in which George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. In it, bystanders clamor for officers to check Floyd's vital signs as Officer Derek Chauvin holds his knee on the man's neck.

The video, from former Officer Tou Thao, shows another vantage of Floyd's arrest as well as Thao's interactions with a crowd of bystanders. The recording was released by a judge's order in Hennepin County, Minn.

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.

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.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is resigning, abruptly announcing her departure late Monday just hours after the city council voted to strip the police department of some resources, including cutting around 100 jobs.

Best, the city's first Black police chief, will depart after a tumultuous few months in Seattle, where intense protests against racial injustice and heavy-handed police practices drew national attention after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is resigning, abruptly announcing her departure late Monday just hours after the city council voted to strip the police department of some resources, including cutting around 100 jobs.

Best, the city's first Black police chief, will depart after a tumultuous few months in Seattle, where intense protests against racial injustice and heavy-handed police practices drew national attention after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day.

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.

Updated 6:24 p.m. ET

John Lewis, the civil rights icon and late congressman from Georgia who represented Atlanta for more than three decades, is being honored during his final visit to the U.S. Capitol on Monday.

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