In response to the alleged drowning death of their personal chef last month, former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have released new, independent statements.
According to Fox News, Tafari Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Virginia, was discovered deceased in Edgartown Great Pond after an exhaustive search.
According to the police, Campbell was paddleboarding near the Obamas’ Martha’s Vineyard home without a life vest. They observed that there was no evidence of misconduct in the incident.
Thursday afternoon, the former president wrote on Instagram that Campbell was a man of “character.”
“Tafari Campbell showed us what true character looks like. He believed that actions speak louder than words. And he used his immense gifts to bring people together, provide comfort, and spread joy. I’ll miss him every day,” said the message.
Michelle Obama wrote, “I will miss my friend, Tafari,” beside a picture of herself, Campbell, and Barack on her Instagram page. The post continued, “…the emptiness is hard. But I promise to stay strong, keep living, and honor your legacy in every way possible. Rest in peace, my brother.”
The Obamas were not present when Campbell disappeared and presumably drowned, according to a statement released by the Massachusetts State Police after Campbell’s body was discovered.
“Mr. Campbell was employed by former President Obama and was visiting Martha’s Vineyard at the time of his passing. President and Mrs. Obama were not present at the residence at the time of the accident,” the agency said.
Campbell was upright on his paddleboard when, according to a paddleboarder who was with him, he lost his equilibrium and fell into the water. The paddleboarder recalled Campbell’s struggle to stay afloat prior to his demise.
The other paddleboarder reportedly told police that they attempted to swim to Campbell’s location but were unable to do so in time, as reported by Fox News.
They eventually returned to land and requested assistance dialing 911. Fox News reported that after receiving the distress call, the Dukes County Regional Emergency Communications Center promptly initiated an emergency search and rescue endeavor involving multiple public safety organizations.
“The on-scene observation of the victim by state police personnel and the post-mortem examination by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner revealed no external trauma or injuries,” Fox reported.
The Daily Mail of the United Kingdom reported on Friday that authorities continue to conceal pertinent information about the incident.
“Massachusetts state police are covering up information about the drowning of Barack Obama‘s personal chef, labeling the incident an accident but continuing to withhold information under the guise of an ‘ongoing investigation,’” the outlet said, adding:
It’s been 11 days since Tafari Campbell drowned in a pond bordering the former president’s estate, but authorities are rejecting requests for even basic facts including the identity of the sole witness and the 911 caller.
The state is citing a Public Records Law exemption that allows police to withhold any information that could jeopardize an active investigation.
But the head of the region’s First Amendment coalition told DailyMail.com that police are abusing that law, given they’ve already ruled out foul play.
The only matter pending is a toxicology report that could show whether Campbell had drugs in his system or suffered some sort of medical episode.
“The burden is on law enforcement to show how their investigation may be jeopardized by releasing certain information,” Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, told the Daily Mail. “And they’re not doing that right now. This really flies in the face of Public Records Law.”
According to sources involved in the first multi-jurisdictional initiative cited by DailyMail.com, state police provided departments with refusal letters to respond to media requests.
“Hello. At this time, we will not be releasing any recordings or materials,” said a message sent to the outlet.
The letter cited the state Public Records Law and claimed it exempts the release of records that “would probably so prejudice the possibility of effective law enforcement that such disclosure would not be in the public interest.”