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 3:45 p.m. ET

The mother of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old Black man who was chased and gunned down by a group of white men in Glynn County, Ga., while jogging, has filed a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit against several people involved in the killing or the subsequent investigation.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET

Nearly 3 million homes and businesses in Texas remain without power, some for a third consecutive day, as severe winter weather continues to pummel the state, forcing some localities to issue boil-water notices and urge residents to reduce their electricity usage.

Amy Cooper, a white dog owner who was at the center of a controversial encounter with a Black man bird-watching in New York's Central Park last year, had her misdemeanor charge stemming from that incident dropped on Tuesday.

The woman had been facing a charge of falsely reporting an incident to police after she told them Christian Cooper, who is not related to her, threatened her and her dog. He did not.

Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., opened the second day of impeachment proceedings by rejecting the defense's argument that former President Donald Trump's remarks at a rally prior to the Capitol attack are protected speech under the First Amendment.

Raskin said that Trump was not merely a private citizen walking down the street expressing his support for the overthrow of the federal government. The former constitutional law professor said if Trump were, his speech would be protected.

Updated at 5:23 p.m. ET

Rochester, N.Y., police officers involved in restraining and pepper-spraying a 9-year-old girl last Friday were suspended Monday by order of Mayor Lovely Warren "at a minimum" until the conclusion of an internal police investigation.

"Unfortunately, state law and union contract prevents me from taking more immediate and serious action," Warren said in a statement.

The suspensions came after city officials released police body-camera footage showing the encounter between officers and the girl.

Emergency crews continue to remove debris and conduct additional search and rescue efforts after a tornado ripped through a suburban area north of Birmingham, Ala., leaving at least one dead and dozens more injured.

Survey crews assessing the storm damage found that preliminary estimates indicate the tornado was at least a high-end EF-2 tornado, with winds up to 135 miles per hour, the National Weather Service in Birmingham said Tuesday afternoon.

Twitter has suspended Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, from the social media platform. He had been using his Twitter account to spread disinformation about the 2020 election, including false claims of voter fraud and election rigging.

Lindell's account was "permanently suspended due to repeated violations of our Civil Integrity Policy," a Twitter spokesperson told NPR. It was not immediately clear which posts from Lindell led to his removal from the social media platform.

Updated 2:45 p.m. ET

Lloyd Austin, a retired four-star Army general, has been confirmed by the Senate, making him the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history.

The Senate approved President Biden's nomination for Pentagon chief in a near-unanimous 93-2 vote Friday.

"It's an honor and a privilege to serve as our country's 28th Secretary of Defense, and I'm especially proud to be the first African American to hold the position," Austin tweeted Friday.

"Let's get to work," he added.

Updated 4:50 p.m. ET

As the United States inaugurated Joe Biden as the 46th president, world leaders, citizens and former officials offered congratulations and expressed hope that the new administration will lead to better relations and reverse some of the policies of his predecessor.

"The United States is back. And Europe stands ready," Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, proclaimed in a tweet hours before the swearing-in Wednesday.

The Michigan Attorney General's Office Thursday announced criminal charges for eight former state officials, including the state's former Gov. Rick Snyder, along with one current official, for their alleged roles in the Flint water crisis.

Together the group face 42 counts related to the drinking water catastrophe roughly seven years ago. The crimes range from perjury to misconduct in office to involuntary manslaughter.

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