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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.

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 Minnesota judge in the case of four ex-Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd ruled in favor of defense attorneys to allow video and transcripts of a previous police encounter with Floyd to be made public.

Amy Cooper, the white woman who was captured on cellphone video calling the police on a Black bird-watcher in Central Park this summer, also allegedly made a second 911 call. New York prosecutors say she falsely claimed the man "tried to assault her."

The second, previously unreported call was disclosed Wednesday, the same day she appeared at a hearing via video link to face a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.

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.

One of the nation's most prestigious universities has agreed to pay nearly $1 million in back pay to female professors following allegations of pay discrimination.

The Ivy League university will pay $925,000 in back pay and at least $250,000 in future wages, as part of an agreement announced by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Legendary New York Yankee Whitey Ford, the southpaw pitcher whose dominance during the 1950s and 1960s helped cement the Bronx Bombers as perennial champions, has died. He was 91.

The Yankees announced his death on their official Twitter page, calling Ford "one of the best lefties to ever toe the rubber."

The organization did not disclose the cause of death. It added that "he will be sorely missed."

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.

One of country music's hottest stars says his invitation to appear this weekend on Saturday Night Live has been revoked.

Morgan Wallen, whose hits include "Whiskey Glasses" and "7 Summers," posted an emotional video to his Instagram page saying show executives nixed his appearance for violating coronavirus safety protocols.

A California district attorney says her office is reopening its investigation of the shooting death of Oscar Grant, a Black man who was killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer more than a decade ago.

The announcement was made Monday on the heels of a rally held by Grant's family in Oakland demanding new charges be filed against one of the officers involved in the deadly encounter.

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 6:24 p.m. ET

The mayor of Rochester, N.Y., Lovely Warren entered a not guilty plea Monday afternoon to campaign finance fraud charges. If convicted, she could be removed from office and be disbarred.

The mayor was released under her own recognizance.

The court appearance comes three days after the second-term mayor and two political associates were indicted on charges they knowingly committed finance violations stemming from the 2017 reelection campaign.

Demonstrations in downtown Portland, Ore., turned violent as skirmishes broke out between protesters and law enforcement officials in the wake of a Kentucky grand jury decision not to directly charge police for the killing of Breonna Taylor. Police arrested 13 people in Portland.

Demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday night to voice anger over a Kentucky grand jury's decision not to charge three Louisville police officers directly in the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March.

Police said they arrested 11 people while dispersing crowds, according to NPR member station WABE in Atlanta.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

Following months of outrage, activism and anticipation, a Kentucky grand jury has decided to indict one of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March.

Brett Hankison, who was terminated in June, has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment over shooting into neighboring apartments. Bond was set at $15,000.

Uncle Ben's will now be known as Ben's Original.

Food giant Mars, Incorporated said Wednesday that it is changing the rice brand's name, which has faced criticism for racial stereotyping. It said the change signals "the brand's ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world's best rice."

Mars also said it will remove the image of the elderly Black man in a bow tie from its packaging.

Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Ky., said Tuesday he has declared a state of emergency for the city "due to the potential for civil unrest."

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is poised to announce whether his office will bring charges against the police officers who fatally shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor during a botched narcotics raid at her home on March 13.

The mayor reiterated he has no insight about when Cameron's decision will be announced, but he said the city must be prepared.

NBA legend Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player and known for his elite competitiveness, is taking another big challenge: trying to make NASCAR more inclusive.

The hoops icon announced on Monday that he and NASCAR superstar Denny Hamlin have teamed up to form a new racing team. They've recruited Bubba Wallace to be its driver.

A white Omaha, Neb., bar owner who was recently indicted for his role in the fatal shooting of a young Black man in May during racial justice protests has died by suicide, according to the man's attorneys.

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.

A Salt Lake City police officer is facing a felony charge stemming from an April encounter in which he ordered a police dog to attack a Black man who was on his knees with his hands raised, seemingly complying with officer commands.

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.

The top law enforcement official in South Dakota told officials that he believed he hit a deer on a rural stretch of road on Saturday night. It wasn't until the following day that it became clear Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg had fatally struck a man, and state authorities are investigating.

Demonstrators gathered to protest the death of 27-year-old man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Lancaster, Pa., over the weekend.

The Lancaster District Attorney's office said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing, and that the man, identified as Ricardo Munoz, was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by an officer who has not been publicly identified.

Four Houston police officers have been terminated for their involvement in the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Nicolas Chavez in April.

The Houston Police Department announced the firings Thursday and released body camera footage of the encounter.

Multiple officers were on the scene the night Chavez was shot to death. They fired a total of 24 shots at Chavez — only three of which were deemed "objectively reasonable," Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference.

It's been four long years, but Colin Kaepernick is finally getting the chance to take the field again — this time for any team of your choosing.

Developers at EA Sports, the maker of the ubiquitous Madden NFL franchise, announced Tuesday that gamers will now have the opportunity to add the former superstar quarterback to both its Play Now and Franchise modes. It's the latest update for Madden NFL 21, which was released last month.

The mayor of Louisville, Ky., has named Yvette Gentry as the city's new interim police chief, making her the first Black woman to lead the Louisville Metro Police Department when she starts on Oct. 1.

Gentry is not a new face at the department. She served more than 20 years with the Louisville Metro Police Department, including as its deputy chief starting in 2011, before retiring from the force in 2014.

A lawsuit filed by a group of Oklahomans is seeking reparations from the city of Tulsa and other local government entities for the ongoing devastation caused by one of the most heinous race massacres in U.S. history nearly 100 years ago.

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