Council nixes request on suicide records, passes legislative package

Virginia Beach will not ask the General Assembly to rewrite public access laws governing suicide records.

Councilman John Moss
Councilman John Moss

Councilman John Moss had added such a request to the city’s draft legislative package, but it was removed at Mayor Will Sessoms’ urging. (Read: Moss, Sessoms spar over suicide records)

The council approved its legislative wish list Tuesday without Moss’ proposal after it failed to receive a second and died before a vote.

The councilman’s request followed the case of a father who sought records related to his son’s apparent suicide in Virginia Beach. The city’s police department denied the father’s request, citing the state’s Freedom of Information Act, which gives broad discretion to officials on when to release suicide records.

“This is just not right in America,” Moss said of the law and the father’s situation before his request failed Tuesday.

The father took the city to court for the records and lost. An appeal is pending before the Supreme Court of Virginia.

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