Police have declared the recent death of former President Barack Obama’s personal chef an accident, but the mystery appears to be deepening.
In a feature labeled “exclusive,” the U.K. Daily Mail reported that local police are “rejecting requests for even basic facts, including the identity of the sole witness and the 911 caller,” in the case involving Tafari Campbell, who reportedly drowned while paddle boarding July 23 near the Obama estate.
The former president’s property, located on the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard, borders Edgartown Great Pond, an 890-acre body of water connected to the Atlantic Ocean.
Authorities cited an exemption to a public records law that allows them to “withhold any information that could jeopardize an active investigation,” the Mail reported.
But since foul play has already been ruled out, the only issue remaining is the result of a toxicology report.
Unnamed sources told the outlet that state police provided other law enforcement agencies with pre-drafted rejection letters to send to media organizations asking for additional information.
“It’s driving me absolutely nuts because it’s making it seem like there’s something going on, when there’s not,” an unnamed public safety officer told the Daily Mail. “As far as I know, some poor guy went out on a paddle board, and he wasn’t a great swimmer, and he drowned.
“I know the optics of this look like it could be a lot more than that. I see what makes this a story. I know this has the recipe for a conspiracy,” the source continued.
“But from what I have seen, there’s no drama to this. If you guys just had everything, you’d see there’s really nothing to this and move on. Instead, you’re left with what appears like a mystery.”
Not surprisingly, members of the media are skeptical.
For example, some might question the statement about Campbell not being “a great swimmer.”
The Washington Post said one of Campbell’s Instagram accounts documented “his everyday interests and passions: swimming, fitness, cooking and family.”
The social media accounts have been made private since the chef’s death, according to the outlet, but the Daily Mail published a screen capture they said was from a video on Campbell’s account, showing a man identified as the chef swimming in a lap pool wearing swim fins.
“Freestyle into a backstroke with arms. #survivalskills,” read the caption superimposed over the photo.
According to the Post, authorities quoted “a fellow paddle boarder” as saying the 45-year-old “lost his balance and fell off” his paddle board on the Edgartown Great Pond.
Once he was in the water, Campbell reportedly “appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged and did not resurface.”
Paddleboards often have a “leash” that tethers the board to the user’s ankle. Campbell was not using such a device when he went into the water, according to the report.
Police said he was not wearing a life jacket either, the Mail reported.
The fellow paddle boarder — the Daily Mail reported it was a female who was “another Obama staff member” — “summoned help from someone who called 911.”
The report said the 911 caller “is believed to be a member of Obama’s Secret Service detail.”
Multiple police and fire agencies were called in, and they spent the night searching the water and nearby land for the missing chef.
Campbell’s body was recovered about 10 a.m. the next morning, in 8 feet of water, the Daily Mail reported.
The Obamas were not home at the time of the incident, USA Today reported this week.
That outlet published a “fact check” article in response to a widely circulated social media post that ran with a picture showing the former president with what appeared to be a black eye and bandaged fingers. Some of the accompanying comments insinuated he may have had something to do with Campbell’s death.
The article denied that previously published versions of the photo in question showed an injury to the former president’s eye.
“As for his fingers, it’s a common practice for golfers to tape their fingers to protect from blisters while they play,” the outlet reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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