Barack and Michelle Obama have paid moving tributes to their personal chef who drowned while paddleboarding in eight feet of water near their Martha’s Vineyard home.
Sharing a photo of himself and the former first lady with the tragic Tafari Campbell on Instagram, the former president wrote: ‘Tafari Campbell showed us what the real character looks like.
“He believed that actions speak louder than words. And he used his immense gifts to bring people together, bring comfort and spread joy. I will miss him every day.’
Michelle shared a similar photo of herself posing with Campbell and Obama at the White House and wrote, “I will miss my friend Tafari…emptiness is hard.” But I promise to stay strong, to live on, and to honor your legacy in any way I can. Rest in peace, my brother.
Former President Barack Obama has shared a moving tribute to his personal chef Tafari Campbell, who drowned off Martha’s Vineyard on July 25. Campbell worked as White House chief before leaving the hallowed address to work for the 44th president and his wife.
Michelle Obama shared this tribute to personal chef Tafari Campbell on Instagram on Thursday
Campbell was found dead near the Obamas’ home in Martha’s Vineyard on July 25.
He had been their personal chef at the White House and left to continue working with the couple when Obama’s second term ended in 2016.
Martha’s Vineyard police concluded that Campbell’s drowning was an accident.
But earlier today DailyMail.com revealed that cops were still withholding basic information about the investigation under the guise of an “ongoing investigation”.
Cops have chosen not to release both the identity of the only witness to the crash – an unidentified woman paddleboarding with Campbell – as well as the one who called 911 to report he was drowning.
The state cites an exemption from the Public Records Act that allows police to withhold any information that could compromise an ongoing investigation.
But the leader of the regional First Amendment coalition told DailyMail.com that police are abusing this law, given that they have already ruled out foul play.
The only outstanding case is a toxicology report that could show if Campbell had any drugs in his system or suffered some sort of medical episode.
“The onus is on law enforcement to show how their investigation can be compromised by releasing certain information,” said Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition. “And they’re not doing that right now. This is really against the law on public records.
State police officials are ensuring other agencies involved in the response follow their lead.
The former first lady also shared a photo of Campbell showing off some of his culinary creations while dressed in his chef’s whites.
The July 23 drowning death of Chief Tafari Campbell near the Obamas’ Martha’s Vineyard estate was ruled accidental, but police are still withholding information
The state medical examiner’s office performed Tafari’s autopsy, finding no bodily trauma or other evidence that the death was suspicious.
The initial call came at 7:46 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, when police and firefighters responded to a report that Campbell, an Obama employee who lives in Virginia, fell from his paddle board, briefly struggled to stay afloat, then sank.
State police reported there was another paddler on the pond with Campbell who saw him drown. They didn’t even release the gender of the witness or the 911 caller.
Police said early on that Campbell’s death was an accident, saying the 45-year-old went out with another paddle board who tried to save him. The person then called for help from someone who called 911, police said. DailyMail.com revealed that the other paddle boarder is female.
But authorities have refused to identify her or the 911 caller believed to be a member of Obama’s Secret Service.
Meanwhile, Martha’s Vineyard police even left the reason for the emergency call blank in the official logs of the night of the incident. The reason for all other calls that night is given.
Sources who participated in the initial multi-jurisdictional effort told DailyMail.com that state police even armed departments with denial letters to send to the media, which bombarded the agencies with questions.
Campbell was paddling with a woman, another Obama staffer, when he fell off his board and drowned in Edgartown’s large pond on July 23.
The Dukes County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the initial 911 call, sent DailyMail.com a copy-and-paste message Tuesday when asked for information about the call.
‘Good morning. At this time, we will not release any recordings or materials,’ the post read, and cited the state’s public records law, noting that it exempts the release of recordings that ‘probably were so prejudicial to the possibility effective law enforcement that such disclosure would not be in the public interest.
“The exemption allows investigators to withhold material that could compromise investigative efforts if disclosed,” the letter adds.
The sheriff’s office communications supervisor refused to budge when pressed by DailyMail.com.
“Sorry, I’m trying to follow the law,” Major Susan Schofield said. “Obviously we get a lot of requests and we don’t like not giving information, but we can’t.
“State police are investigating and we cannot release any information.”
Another public safety officer involved in the initial investigation told DailyMail.com that “State Police also sent us these templates to use.”
“It drives me absolutely crazy because it makes it look like something is going on when there isn’t,” the source said. “As far as I know, some poor guy went out on a paddleboard, and he wasn’t a great swimmer, and he drowned.
“I know the optics of this look could be so much more than that,” the source continued. “I see what makes it a story. I know it’s a recipe for conspiracy.
“But from what I’ve seen, there’s no drama to it. If you had everything, you’d see there’s really nothing to it and move on. Instead, you end up with what appears to be a mystery.