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Myerson v. City of Los Angeles Records, 1971-1985
MSS 081  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Separated Material
  • Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Myerson v. City of Los Angeles Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1971-1985
    Collection number: MSS 081
    Creator: Myerson, Seymour
    Extent: 7 legal boxes; 2 1/3 linear feet
    Repository: Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
    Los Angeles, CA 90044
    Abstract: The Myerson v. City of Los Angeles Records consist of materials collected by Seymour Myerson pertaining to his lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), LAPD Chief of Police Edward M. Davis, and LAPD Officer Clifford E. Ruff. Mr. Myerson was represented in this lawsuit by ACLU volunteer attorney Samuel Paz of Gomez, Paz, Rodriguez & Sanora and Fred Okrand of the ACLU. Materials in this collection range in date from 1971 to 1985.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Access

    The collection is available for research only at the Library's facility in Los Angeles. The Library is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Researchers are encouraged to call or email the Library indicating the nature of their research query prior to making a visit.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. Researchers may make single copies of any portion of the collection, but publication from the collection will be allowed only with the express written permission of the Library's director. It is not necessary to obtain written permission to quote from a collection. When the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research gives permission for publication, it is as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Myerson v. City of Los Angeles Records, Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research, Los Angeles, California.

    Provenance

    Donated to the Library by Seymour "Mike" Myerson in May 1986.

    Biography

    In June of 1977 Seymour "Mike" Myerson, a retired architect and long-time Los Angeles community activist, filed suit against the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), LAPD Chief of Police Edward M. Davis and LAPD Officer Clifford E. Ruff. In this lawsuit he charged officers of the LAPD with harassment and illegal surveillance and claimed he was prevented from expressing his social, political, and economic views. Mr. Myerson was represented in his suit by attorneys Samuel Paz, volunteer attorney and President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) - Southern California Chapter, and Fred Okrand, also of the ACLU.
    During the years 1974-1976, Seymour Myerson was under LAPD surveillance, conducted by the Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID), stemming from his involvement with activist groups such as the Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and the Institute for Marxist Studies. During this period Mr. Myerson was subjected to such harassment as having his automobile tires slashed numerous times, rocks and bricks thrown through his windows, and being followed on trips to San Francisco, New York and North Carolina. On June 12, 1976 an officer made a false report claiming that Myerson was brandishing a gun outside of his home in Silver Lake. As a result of this false report, Myerson's home was surrounded by uniformed police and thoroughly searched. No weapon was discovered.
    After making numerous complaints over several years to the LAPD and the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, Mr. Myerson filed suit in 1977 and was represented by attorneys from the ACLU. The lawsuit that followed served to shed much light on the activities of LAPD surveillance operations of the 1970s, particularly the activities of the PDID, and revealed information about the unethical and illegal efforts of the police to disrupt legitimate community and civil rights groups.
    After years of legal motions, a settlement was finally reached in 1982 and the City of Los Angeles agreed to pay Mr. Myerson $27,500 in compensatory damages. This suit, one of the first of its kind, started a string of similar suits filed by the ACLU alleging police harassment of political and community activists.

    Scope and Content

    This collection is comprised of legal documents, legal research materials, correspondence, press clippings and photographs pertaining to Seymour Myerson's lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department. Copies of Plaintiff's and Defendants' motions and the Court's responses to them are included, as well as copies of 14 depositions. This collection also contains legal research materials of Samuel Paz, attorney for Mr. Myerson, and materials he had collected to submit as evidence at trial. Policy and procedural manuals issued by the LAPD are included, as are copies of Mr. Myerson's correspondence with various representatives of the LAPD and the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. Of particular interest are this collection's legal documents, depositions and LAPD materials, for they serve to reveal valuable information regarding the activities of the Public Disorder Intelligence Division of the LAPD in the 1970s and the duties and activities of undercover officers and LAPD intelligence gathering, in general.

    Arrangement

    The collection is divided into 6 series: 1. Legal Documents, 1977-1982, 2. Evidentiary Materials, 1975-1982, 3. General Legal Materials, 1974-1982 , 4. LAPD Materials, 1971-1985, 5. Correspondence, 1975-1982 and 6. Newspaper Clippings, 1977-1983.

    Arrangement

    Materials in each individual series are arranged chronologically.

    Separated Material

    No materials have been separated from this collection.

    Related Material at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research

    Title: Latino Community Justice Center Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1987-1991,
    Physical Description: 1 linear foot
    Title: Urban Policy Research Institute Records,
    Date (inclusive): 1970-1985,
    Physical Description: 48 cubic feet
    Title: Christopher Commission Report on the LAPD,
    Date (inclusive): July 1991
    Title: State of Emergency: Inside the Los Angeles Police Department, Elizabeth Canner and Julia Meltzer,
    Date: 1993,
    Location: Video Collection # 233

    Bibliography

    Domanick, Joe. To Protect and Serve: LAPD's Century Long War in the City of Dreams, New York: Pocket Books, 1994.
    Herbert, Joe. Policing Space: Territoriality and the Los Angeles Police Department, Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.