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.

The mother of the 9-year-old girl who was handcuffed and pepper sprayed by police in Rochester, N.Y., last week said she was never informed by law enforcement that a chemical irritant was used on her daughter.

In addition, she allegedly told officers she feared her daughter may be experiencing a mental health crisis and requested trained personnel to assist. But that request was denied.

A confirmed COVID-19 case at a quarantine hotel in Melbourne, Australia, is forcing organizers of a major tennis tournament to mandate that more than 500 players and their staffs "be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result" just days before play is set to begin.

Athletes prepping for the Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam tournament and scheduled for Feb. 8 – 21, will not be permitted to leave their rooms until they test negative for the coronavirus.

Updated 12:45 p.m. ET

Brian Sicknick, the slain U.S. Capitol Police officer who was given the rare distinction of lying in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, received a final tribute from lawmakers Wednesday. President Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined Sicknick's family members and colleagues from the Capitol Police in a period of visitation on Tuesday night.

Sicknick, 42, died from injuries he sustained fending off members of the mob that breached the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.

Updated at 10:29 p.m. ET

Brian Sicknick, the U.S. Capitol Police officer who was fatally injured during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol complex, has been given the rare distinction of lying in honor in the building's Rotunda.

President Biden and Jill Biden briefly joined family members and colleagues from the Capitol Police in a period of visitation on Tuesday night.

New York state lawmakers have introduced legislation that bans law enforcement officers from using chemical irritants on minors.

It was a quick response to Rochester Police pepper-spraying a handcuffed 9-year-old girl as officers were responding to a call of a family disturbance last week. Video of the girl's encounter with police was released by city officials, sparking protests in the city Monday evening.

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.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Biden's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, pledged to take a tougher line against China and its push to exert influence over the multinational organization during her Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.

"We know that China is working across the U.N. system to drive an authoritarian agenda that stands in opposition to the values of the institution," Thomas-Greenfield told lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations committee.

Europe's aviation authority has given an all-clear for Boeing's beleaguered 737 Max plane, with modifications, to return to service. This effectively lifts the nearly two-year ban on the aircraft in the European Union following a pair of plane crashes that killed 346 people.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said a modified version of the 737 Max will be allowed fly once again, after several upgrades to its software, electrical system, operational manuals and training of flight crews.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky called it "a significant milestone."

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.

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