Following the alleged drowning death of their personal chef last month, former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have issued fresh, independent statements.
After a thorough search, Tafari Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Virginia, was found dead in Edgartown Great Pond, according to Fox News.
According to the police, Campbell was not wearing a life jacket while paddleboarding close to the Obamas’ Martha’s Vineyard residence. They noted that there was no indication of wrongdoing in the occurrence.
The former president wrote in a statement on Instagram on Thursday afternoon 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 at home when Campbell vanished and likely drowned, according to a statement from the Massachusetts State Police issued after the body of Campbell was found.
“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 standing on his paddleboard when he lost his balance and went into the water, according to a paddleboarder who was with Campbell. The paddleboarder remembered Campbell struggling to remain afloat before sinking.
According to Fox News, the other paddleboarder told police that they tried to swim to Campbell’s location but were unsuccessful in doing so in time.
They ultimately made it back to land and asked for help from someone to dial 911. The Dukes County Regional Emergency Communications Center immediately started an emergency search and rescue effort involving numerous public safety organizations after receiving the distress call, Fox News reported.
“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 UK’s Daily Mail claimed on Friday that authorities continue to suppress important details regarding 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.”
DailyMail.com said that state police had provided departments with refusal letters to reply to media queries, according to sources who were involved in the first multi-jurisdictional initiative.
“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.”