Brakkton Booker | KGOU
KGOU

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.

President Obama's campaign to win support for the nuclear deal with Iran got a forceful boost Sunday when Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada announced his endorsement. Reid, the Senate's top Democrat, says he will "do everything in [his] power" to make sure the deal stands.

Reid's backing adds even more weight to a groundswell of support building on Capitol Hill for the deal between the U.S., Iran and five other nations.

Mansur Ball-Bey, the black 18-year-old killed by white St. Louis officers earlier this week, died from a single gunshot in the back, according to an autopsy report.

The autopsy's findings were first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There were two officers involved in the shooting; one fired three times and another fired just once, police told the paper.

The investigation of the shooting is ongoing.

Alarmed at the flow of migrants coming in through Greece, the tiny European nation of Macedonia declared a state of emergency Thursday. It has begun deploying riot police in armored vehicles and calling in the military.

The Associated Press reports Macedonian officials have blocked thousands of migrants from entering and left them stranded in an open field being described as a "no-man's land" near the Greek border.

If you are dead set on living in a house from one of the creepiest films ever made, there's a killer deal waiting for you in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes of Ohio, who was the state's first black congressman and who represented Cleveland and some of its neighboring suburbs for 30 years, has died. He was 90.

His death Tuesday was confirmed by a family statement and comes a month after Stokes revealed that he had been diagnosed with brain and lung cancer. The family statement read, in part:

Yvonne Craig, best known for her role as Batgirl in the iconic 1960s television series Batman, died Monday. She was 78.

Craig died at her home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., as a result of complications from breast cancer that had spread to her liver. In a statement posted to her website, family members said:

Police officers fired more than 600 rounds during an hourlong chase of three armed suspects in a bank robbery last year in Stockton, Calif. — which an independent review has concluded was "excessive and unnecessary."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state's current death penalty law is unconstitutional.

The decision spares the lives of 11 inmates already on the state's death row who were subject to execution even though state lawmakers passed legislation repealing capital punishment in 2012. That law applied to all future cases, not capital crimes committed before the legislation was enacted.

The court effectively closed that loophole with a 4-3 vote.

The biggest news to come out of Wednesday's high-profile federal court hearing on the "deflategate" saga had nothing to do with the NFL or Tom Brady's pending four-game suspension.

Veteran courtroom sketch artist Jane Rosenberg is grabbing most of the attention for her depiction of the New England Patriots quarterback. And of course the interwebs responded in kind, unleashing countless memes of the now-infamous sketch.

Outside the Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday, Rosenberg defended her work.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says samples of waters that flow through three Western states, contaminated by waste from an abandoned Colorado mine last week, are showing improvement. Experts say the heavy metals and other materials are still there, though, in the riverbeds.

Speaking to reporters today from Durango, Colo., EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy promised more details later but did provide what she called "very good news."

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the NFL appeared in a Manhattan court today to update a federal judge on whether both sides are any closer to resolving a dispute over the quarterback's pending four-game "deflategate" suspension.

The public portion of the hearing lasted approximately 80 minutes before U.S. Judge Richard Berman met separately with Brady and league officials in private.

A federal court says outlawing "ballot selfies," photos of people displaying their marked ballots, violates free speech rights.

The ruling clears the way for New Hampshire voters to post their ballot selfies during the first-in-the-nation presidential primaries early next year.

New Hampshire's ban went into effect September 2014 and made it illegal for anyone to post a photo of a marked ballot and share it on social media. The violation was punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith will miss a lot of playing time after being "sucker-punched" by a teammate Tuesday. The fracas left him with two fractures in his jaw.

IK Enemkpali, a reserve linebacker who threw the punch, was promptly released by the team. Head coach Todd Bowles told reporters the altercation "had nothing to do with football."

Federal authorities have charged nine people in connection with an elaborate trading scheme involving hackers from Ukraine and securities traders in the U.S. that generated more than $30 million in illegal profits.

The federal indictments, unsealed today in New York and New Jersey, allege that hackers broke into three news wire companies to get early access to more than 150,000 confidential press releases — such as merger-and-acquisition announcements. This allowed the schemers to make trades on them before the deals became public.

An international team of astronomers says new data show energy output measured across more than 200,000 galaxies is only about half as strong as it was 2 billion years ago. Scientists point to this latest study as further evidence that the universe is slowly dying.

The Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) project presented the data at an international astronomical gathering in Hawaii.

James Holmes will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The jurors who convicted him of murdering a dozen people and trying to kill 70 more at a midnight movie three years ago could not agree on a death sentence.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for less than seven hours over two days.

District Attorney George Brauchler, who had sought to have Holmes executed, said, "I still think death is justice for what that guy did ... but I respect the outcome." He also said the jury did "a hell of a job."

Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles will begin recalling specialty license plates depicting the Confederate battle flag following a federal judge's decision last week to dissolve an injunction that barred officials from blocking such plates.

The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a semi-submersible vessel carrying more than 16,000 pounds of cocaine in the Pacific Ocean in the largest bust of such a vessel in the agency's history.

The cocaine seized was worth more than $181 million. The Northern California-based Coast Guard crew also apprehended four suspected smugglers after a Navy aircraft detected the 40-foot, self-propelled vessel traveling approximately 200 miles south of Mexico last month.

A federal appeals court Wednesday struck down a voter ID law in Texas, saying it violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act. A 5th Circuit three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the law does not equate to a "poll tax" but does discriminate against minority voters.

The 2011 law, considered one of the toughest in the country, was in effect during the midterm elections last year. It was one of a handful of voter ID laws enacted in Republican-governed states. The Texas law required voters to provide certain forms of identification before they could cast a ballot.

Pages