Two Los Angeles police officers were fired for playing Pokémon Go instead of responding to a robbery in progress, newly-released documents have revealed.
As revealed in court documents (and reported by Vice), police officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were fired for “wilfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response to a robbery in progress and playing a Pokémon mobile game while on duty.”
The incident occurred in an LA mall in April 2017. A patrol supervisor asked Lozano and Mitchell to respond to an apparent robbery, but they ignored the call and instead ventured off to catch a Snorlax.
A digital in-car video system (DICVS) recorded the officers’ conversations as they spotted the Snorlax and discussed their strategy to catch it.
“For approximately the next 20 minutes, the DICVS captured [Mitchell and Lozano] discussing Pokémon as they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones,” read the court documents. “On their way to the Snorlax location, Officer Mitchell alerted Officer Lozano that ‘a Togetic just popped up’.”
The officers caught the Snorlax and then proceeded to the Togetic. “Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me,” said Mitchell. “Holy crap. Finally… the guys are going to be so jealous.”
Following the incident, Mitchell and Lozano lied about what happened, claiming they were catching “images” of Pokémon and that the game was more of a “social media event” that was not “advertised as a game”.
In earlier court filings, the board of rights stated “playing Pokémon Go showed complete disregard for the community, wasted resources, violated public trust and was unprofessional and embarrassing to the Department.” As the officers lied, “Their behaviour reflected gross negligence, cowardice, lack of thoughtfulness and deceit”.
The two LAPD officers lost an appeal of the decision on 7th January 2022.
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