Massachusetts State Police are reportedly covering up information related to the mysterious drowning of former President Barack Obama’s personal chef, Tafari Campbell.
DailyMail.com first reported the story, revealing that authorities are refusing to release the identity of the sole witness or the 911 caller, citing a Public Records Law exemption that allows police to withhold any information that could potentially jeopardize an active investigation.
That decision has raised several questions among members of the public, with conspiracy theorists happy to exploit the vacuum on social media.
The Associated Press devoted an article to shooting down some of the baseless claims circulating, including a popular Instagram video asserting that Campbell was writing a tell-all book on the Obamas when he was ‘found with head trauma in 3 to 4 feet of water on the Obama estate’.
State police reported that Campbell fell off his paddle board on Sunday, July 23, and the other paddle boarder quickly called 911. The state medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy, finding no trauma to the body or any other evidence the death was suspicious. But the final toxicology report could not yet confirm if Campbell had drugs in his system or suffered a medical episode at the time of his death.
Justin Silverman, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, told DailyMail.com that police are ‘abusing’ the Public Records Law, given they’ve already ruled out foul play. He said: ‘The burden is on law enforcement to show how their investigation may be jeopardized by releasing certain information, and they’re not doing that right now. This really flies in the face of Public Records Law.’
Massachusetts State Police have also reportedly instructed other agencies involved in the response to follow their lead, even sending out rejection letters to the media. When pressed by DailyMail.com for information about the call, the supervisor of communications for the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office returned a cut-and-paste message citing the state Public Records Law and saying that they ‘will not be releasing any recordings or materials’.
When asked about the situation, one public safety officer told DailyMail.com: “It’s driving me absolutely nuts because it’s making it seem like there’s something going on, when there’s not. As far as I know, some poor guy went out on a paddle board, and he wasn’t a great swimmer and he drowned. We’re supposed to be transparent, but this total drama to this, not giving out names, it’s kind of horsesh*t.”
Police declared early on that Campbell’s death was an accident, but authorities have refused to identify the other paddle boarder or the 911 caller, believed to be a member of Obama’s Secret Service detail.
Barack and Michelle Obama were out of the house at the time of the drowning and, while it’s unclear if the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia, were at home or not at the time, they flew from the island the Tuesday after the incident. Meanwhile, the former president and First Lady, were seen golfing and playing tennis the following Friday.
As speculation continues to build around the mysterious drowning of Barack Obama’s personal chef, it remains to be seen what – if anything – Massachusetts State Police are hiding and whether the truth will emerge.