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Anaheim cancels Neighborhood Council meetings in the wake of officer-involved shootings

Some community leaders in Anaheim's south and central neighborhoods are upset that someone in the city thought it necessary to cancel previously scheduled meetings of the Neighborhood Councils there. Two officer-involved shootings over the weekend provoked protests that turned violent in recent days, and city leaders apparently expressed concerns that the meetings wouldn't be safe.

Neighborhood Councils meet on a quarterly basis and according to the city's website, "focus on the needs of individual neighborhoods, as well as foster community involvement." Traditionally, members of city government and the police department attend the meetings to hear neighborhood concerns.

The East and West districts have already had their meetings this quarter. Meetings in the south and central districts were scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week, until someone in the city decided that safety concerns made the meetings unfeasible. Thursday's meeting was to take place at Paul Revere Elementary School, which is in the same neighborhood where Manuel Diaz, apparently unarmed at the time, was shot and killed by police on Saturday. That shooting is under investigation by several agencies, including the FBI.

Community members received word on Monday that the meetings had been called off and have not yet been rescheduled. The website for the Neighborhood Services Division of the city says the meetings were cancelled "in light of recent events." Arturo Ferreras, chair of the south neighborhood council, said he understood the safety concerns, but was disappointed in the cancellation.  

"You created a structure to listen to the concerns of the community," he said. "Now you're making the rubber stamp obvious." 

Ferreras also joined a growing chorus of community members calling for nonviolence in the wake of the police shootings. "That's not what we need," he said of protesters clashing with police.

Requests for comment from the Anaheim City Manager and Neighborhood Services Division have not yet been returned.