OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
While newly released documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed more information about the death of Barack and Michelle Obama’s personal chef, they have also led to additional questions.
The news of the tragic death was revealed on the Fox News show “Jesse Watters Primetime” last week.
“According to the report, Obama was on the scene shortly after Campbell went missing,” Watters said. “The report also states an unnamed female staffer jumped into the water when Tafari fell off his board, but it was already too late. He disappeared.”
“We also now know that Secret Service has surveillance footage of Campbell from Obama’s compound moments before he entered the water,” the host said.
“So we’re going to see if we can get that, and we may have that for you. Again, we’re very, very sorry for Tafari’s family. That was a serious, serious tragedy,” he said.
The information was obtained by the legal watchdog group Judicial Watch and posted to the organization’s website. Many of the key figures and places in the report were redacted, however.
“The documents were produced to Judicial Watch in response to a July 25, 2003, Massachusetts Public Records Law request for all records relating to the death of Campbell,” the group said.
“The documents show Campbell’s family told police that he had taken swimming lessons in 2019 but described his ability as ‘not a great swimmer.’ The drowning occurred in Edgartown Great Pond, which Massachusetts Environmental Police estimated ‘to be approximately seven to eight feet deep,’” it said.
“The records also show a female eyewitness, an Obama employee whose name is redacted, told state police that she saw Campbell ‘fall off his paddleboard, began splashing and became extremely panicked, yelling for help and subsequently went underwater very quickly.’ By the time she reached his paddleboard, the witness said Campbell had ‘disappeared into the extremely murky’ water,” Judicial Watch said.
The group also said that, according to the records, “Barack Obama arrived at the emergency response scene via motorcade.”
“The next morning, the eyewitness was interviewed in the Obama residence, seemingly with Barack Obama again present,” Judicial Watch noted.
Until now, there were no reports indicating the former president was on the scene. In fact, the earliest reports said that the former first couple was not at home or even in the area at the time.
Also last week, new audio was released after being obtained by the UK’s Daily Mail of the frantic phone call made by a Secret Service agent to 911.
“We have a male drowning in the back of the property now,” said an agent who was identified as Dave in the first of two 911 calls after Tafari Campbell, 45, fell off his board into the Edgartown Great Pond and vanished under the surface for an entire day.
“We have our rescue swimmers, they’re attempting to go out there right now,” Dave told a dispatcher, per heavily redacted audio revealed by the outlet.
Dave’s first emergency call occurred around 7:46 p.m., telling a dispatcher that at least one swimmer and another Secret Service agent had boarded a boat to try and get to Campbell.
They were not present when Campbell drowned, but an unnamed individual had called their attention to the situation.
“It’s not clear from the call who the individual was, but previous reporting indicates it was a second, female Obama staffer who desperately tried to save her coworker when he went underwater,” the New York Post reported.
Dave said: “Someone came running up to our back post, saying a gentleman, it’s just a guest of the house, is out there drowning.”
The Post said that Dave then stumbled for words for several seconds after the dispatcher asked if the federal agents needed an ambulance or water rescue help. He said he wasn’t sure what was occurring “in the back of the property.”
“They didn’t advise right now. I would say at least an ambulance,” Dave said.