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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.

A wide-ranging survey shows Americans' willingness to receive a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes publicly available and confidence in its effectiveness are on the rise.

But when broken down by racial or ethnic group, Black respondents show the most reluctance, with less than half saying they will do so.

As the nation grapples with issues of racial injustice and social inequality, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are pushing to remove the so-called slavery loophole from the United States Constitution.

With the adoption and ratification of the 13th Amendment 155 years ago, the practice of slavery formally ended in this country, but it did not strip away all aspects of involuntary servitude.

A Wisconsin court commissioner overseeing the case of a teenager accused of killing two people and injuring a third during protests in Kenosha, Wis., this summer, has denied defense attorneys' request to dismiss two of the six charges facing Kyle Ritttenhouse.

During a preliminary hearing conducted via video link Thursday, Kenosha County Circuit Court Commissioner Loren Keating also said he found enough evidence that support the charges against Rittenhouse, 17, for the case to proceed to trial.

Updated at 3:37 p.m. ET

With confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spiking and the nation's job market struggling to pull itself out of the abyss caused by the pandemic, President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday formally announced the advisers who he hopes can guide the United States back to solid economic footing.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Officials in Arizona and Wisconsin have certified their states' presidential election results, affirming President-elect Joe Biden's razor-thin victories over President Trump in the two key swing states.

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET

With the American economy on uneven footing as coronavirus cases surge nationwide, President-elect Joe Biden formally announced top members of his incoming economic team on Monday.

Updated 1:45 p.m. ET

Diego Armando Maradona, who rose from the slums of Buenos Aires to lead Argentina's national team to victory in the 1986 World Cup, lost his way through substance abuse and then pursued a second career as a coach, died Wednesday at the age of 60, according to media reports.

He reportedly suffered a heart attack at his home in a suburb of Buenos Aires.

Updated at 12:27 a.m. ET Tuesday

The Monday Night Football matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams made history, but it had nothing to do with the two teams vying for playoff seeding.

For the first time, the league assembled an all-Black officiating crew, led by Jerome Boger, a 17-year NFL official.

Rounding out the seven-member crew: umpire Barry Anderson, side judge Anthony Jeffries, line judge Carl Johnson, down judge Julian Mapp, field judge Dale Shaw and back judge Greg Steed.

As the coronavirus infection rate continues to skyrocket across the United States, officials in one of the nation's hardest-hit regions, El Paso County, Texas, have posted job openings for morgue workers as the number of local deaths from the virus mounts.

This comes as officials had been relying on low-level inmates from the county jail to assist with moving remains of the deceased.

Stanford University appeared to distance itself from Dr. Scott Atlas, a prominent member of the Trump administration's coronavirus task force, following his remarks that residents of Michigan should "rise up" against the state's new coronavirus restrictions.

Stanford officials said in a statement that Atlas' position was his alone, and his comments were "inconsistent with the university's approach in response to the pandemic."

Criminal charges for Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott and more than a dozen others have been dropped. Scott was part of a group arrested in September during a demonstration against the grand jury decision not to directly charge Louisville police officers over the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing the NCAA to scrap its traditional multi-city Division I Men's basketball tournament format in 2021. Instead, the NCAA plans to host all of March Madness in a single area in the spring, officials announced Monday.

The NCAA said it is holding talks with officials from the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis to host the 68-team tournament in March and early April.

As coronavirus cases spike in Michigan at an alarming rate, state officials announced a new emergency order sharply limiting indoor gatherings for three weeks.

Then a top Trump administration coronavirus adviser urged the state's residents to "rise up" against such measures, prompting the governor to respond that she is "not going to be bullied."

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas tweeted Sunday, "The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept."

Updated 7:00 a.m. ET Saturday

The Boston Red Sox have brought back one-time manager Alex Cora. Less than 10 months ago, the team parted ways with him for his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing cheating scandal during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The National Basketball Players Association has approved a plan to start the upcoming NBA season next month but said other details still need to be sorted out before the union and league can finalize the 2020-21 season.

Under this plan, the season would tip off on Dec. 22 and will include a 72-game schedule, the NBPA said in a statement.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

With both President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden still short of the 270 electoral votes needed to claim victory, anxious Americans are left with little to do but be patient and wait as election officials in key swing states furiously work to complete their vote tabulations.

Not long after The Associated Press and other news outlets declared Wednesday that Democrat Joe Biden had won Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes, the Trump campaign announced it would ask for a recount in the state.

The margin separating Biden and Trump in what is one of the nation's most contested swing states is roughly 20,000 votes, or less than 1%. It was absentee ballots in the cities of Milwaukee, Green Bay and Kenosha, added to county totals Wednesday morning, that appear to have put Biden on top.

With new coronavirus infections surging and area hospitals already at capacity, medical examiners in El Paso, Texas, have received a fourth refrigerated morgue to temporarily store bodies, a county official says.

It is a stark reality for a city where coronavirus patients have been succumbing to COVID-19 at a rate faster than medical personnel can investigate their cases. El Paso sits along the U.S. southern border and is referred to as part of the Borderplex, along with Mexico's Ciudad Juárez.

Texas hit a significant milestone with four days to go before Election Day: The number of early voters who cast ballots in the Lone Star state this year passed the entire total cast in all of 2016.

So far, more than 9 million Texans have voted, according to a tally compiled by the U.S. Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database.

With new coronavirus cases soaring and hospitals at capacity, a Texas judge issued a shelter-in-place order that shuts down nonessential businesses for El Paso and its surrounding areas.

The order, which calls for hair salons, gyms and restaurant dine-in services to close, went into effect just before midnight Friday local time. It is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 11.

The state's attorney general quickly denounced the order, who said the judge had no authority to enact such a measure.

Updated 4:45 p.m. ET

Philadelphia, still on edge following days of protests and unrest that engulfed the city in response to the police killing of a 27-year-old Black man, Walter Wallace Jr., experienced a relatively quiet night Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw vowed on Wednesday that the department would release "in the near future" 911 tapes and body camera footage worn by the officers involved with the killing.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET Thursday

Philadelphia officials issued a citywide curfew on Wednesday after consecutive nights of protests — which at times turned violent — following the fatal police shooting of a 27-year-old Black man, Walter Wallace Jr.

He was holding a knife when police shot him.

The was in effect from 9 p.m. Wednesday and lasts until 6 a.m. Thursday.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney lamented the looting and property destruction that's taken place during nighttime protests.

A Michigan judge has blocked a ban on openly carrying firearms at Michigan polling places on Election Day.

Court of Claims Judge Christopher Murray granted a preliminary injunction to pro-gun groups who filed motions to block the directive issued by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson on Oct. 16.

Updated at 1:35 a.m. ET Wednesday

Several hundred troops from the Pennsylvania National Guard will be deployed to Philadelphia at the county's request, amid unrest following the shooting of a Black man on Monday.

Walter Wallace, 27, was killed after officers responded to emergency calls Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia. The city's mayor and police commissioner have promised a full investigation into the incident.

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.

A police officer who shot and killed a young Black man and injured the man's girlfriend during a traffic stop last week in Waukegan, Ill., has been fired. City officials are expected to release police video of the encounter, which could come as soon as this week.

State and local officials attended a vigil Sunday in Waukegan, where attendees paid tribute to the deceased, Marcellis Stinnette, 19, and Tafara Williams, who is recovering from injuries sustained last week.

Researchers in Tulsa, Okla., have concluded their latest round of test excavations in the search for remains of Black victims killed during a race massacre nearly a century ago.

Tulsa officials said at least 11 coffins were discovered over four days of digging in specific areas of the city-owned Oaklawn Cemetery. It is one of the locations historians and researchers believe mass graves exist stemming from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.

Protesters in Waukegan, Ill., are calling for justice and urging federal authorities to open an investigation into the police killing earlier this week of Marcellis Stinnette, a young Black man.

Tafara Williams, the driver of the vehicle the pair was in at the time of the encounter, was also shot and is recovering from her injuries at a local hospital. Her relatives have told reporters that she was Stinette's girlfriend.

The men's basketball coach at Penn State University, Pat Chambers, has resigned following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct.

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.

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