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.

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.

Updated at 5:21 p.m. ET

A Fulton County Superior Court judge granted the former Atlanta police officer accused of shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy's parking lot a bond of $500,000 on Tuesday.

Garrett Rolfe, who was fired from the Atlanta Police Department shortly after the June 12 killing of Brooks, will be required to turn over his passport if he has one, wear an ankle monitor and be subject to a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

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.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will require visitors coming from other states with significant coronavirus cases to quarantine for a two-week period upon arrival.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the travel advisory would go into effect midnight Thursday. He was joined by Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy at a midday press briefing.

Updated 7:41 p.m. ET

Mourners came to pay their respects to Rayshard Brooks at a public viewing in Atlanta Monday. The Black man was shot and killed during an encounter with white police officers earlier this month after he was discovered asleep in a car at a fast-food restaurant.

The viewing was held at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was a co-pastor.

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.

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.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is on board with any of the NFL's 32 franchises signing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

"If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then it's obviously going to take a team to make that decision," Goodell said during an interview with ESPN.

"But I welcome that, support the club making that decision and encourage them to do that."

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.

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.

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.

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.

The NFL announced an expansion of its rules guiding how clubs consider minority candidates for top coaching positions and front office jobs Tuesday, describing the changes as "wide-sweeping workplace reforms."

This comes the same day that the NFL is allowing teams to reopen their practice facilities, so long as certain health regulations are met and they're allowed to do so in their areas. League facilities have been shuttered for nearly two months out of concerns over the coronavirus.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the stay-at-home order enacted to help halt the spread of the coronavirus will remain in place until May 28, with the exception of a handful of areas around the state that have met benchmarks for reopening.

In an executive order issued late Thursday, Cuomo said five regions in the state — Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and the North Country — could move into phase one of reopening.

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.

There's a chance that hundreds of millions of doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine could be available by early next year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Thursday, even though the federal government has not approved a vaccine against the virus.

Democrat Kweisi Mfume, the former president of the NAACP, cruised to victory in a special election for Maryland's vacant congressional seat, which was formerly held by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings.

Mfume, 71, will serve out the remainder of Cummings' term, which ends Jan. 3. He also wants a full two-year team and is on the ballot for the state's June primary.

Serving in Congress will not be a new experience for Mfume. He represented Maryland's 7th Congressional District for five terms beginning in 1987.

In a significant shift for college sports, the NCAA's top governing body said it supports a rule change allowing student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, so long as the college or university they attend does not pay them directly.

Restaurants across Tennessee are able to welcome dine-in customers Monday for the first time in nearly a month as the state eases restrictions put in place to help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The step toward some semblance of normalcy comes a day after the state reported its highest single-day jump in newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, 478, which officials say represents a 5.2% increase from the previous day.

The NFL draft starts Thursday night, giving most sports fans their first glimpse of live action, sort of, in more than a month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

No glitzy affair in Las Vegas as originally planned.

But the 2020 draft will be historic — just without fans in attendance cheering or booing their beloved team's picks. No newly-minted NFL player holding up a jersey of the team that just selected them. No draftees shaking hands with Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage.

A day after the eye-popping announcement that nearly 16 million new subscribers signed up for Netflix in the first quarter of the year, the video streaming giant said it wants to take on more debt so it can acquire and produce more content.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is defending his decision to secure half a million coronavirus test kits from South Korea instead of waiting for assistance from the federal government.

The decision to lean on a foreign government has drawn a rebuke from President Trump, who said of Hogan, "I think he needed to get a little knowledge, would've been helpful."

For days, Hogan, a Republican, has expressed frustration with the Trump administration over his state's struggle to obtain more testing equipment.

The coronavirus crisis could be igniting a revolution of sorts in the legal cannabis industry.

Thirty-three states across the U.S. allow for some form of sale and consumption of marijuana. And of those, more than 20 states have designated the cannabis industry as essential during the coronavirus outbreak.

While advocates are applauding many of the interim marijuana laws, they also say those laws exposes dangerous disparities among states.

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