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Court Upholds Firing of 2 LAPD Officers Who Played 'Pokémon GO' On The Job

Source: SOPA Images / Getty

Two LAPD officers had to catch them all, and we’re not talking about crooks.

Per the Los Angeles Times, a California appeals court upheld the dismissal of two Los Angeles Police Department officers who thought playing Pokémon GO on the job was more important than stopping a bank robbery going down at the Crenshaw Mall in 2017.

According to court records, the California Court of Appeal rejected the claim of the two officers, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, that the LAPD “improperly used a digital in-car video recording of their private conversations in order to prove their misconduct, and another that they were improperly subjected to questioning about their actions by a supervisor without legal or labor representation present,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

The incident in question occurred on what is described as a “busy day” in April 2017. Lozano and Mitchell were assigned to a foot beat patrol in the Crenshaw. According to court records, there were “more calls than police cars available to respond.” When the call for a robbery in progress with multiple suspects came in, a captain in the area responded to the call, but Lozano and Mitchell didn’t. The former officers’ patrol supervisor, Sgt. Jose Gomez radioed the two officers to see if they would respond to the mall incident but got no response. Gomez later questioned Lozano and Mitchell, and they told him that they “had been in a park with loud music engaging with community members and hadn’t heard the radio call.”

Gomez found that to be quite suspicious and decided to review the in-car video from Lozano and Mitchell’s squad car court records revealed. Gomez determined the two officers heard the call from the footage but chose to ignore it, with Lozano allegedly saying, “Aw screw it.”
An internal investigation further revealed the two officers were playing the popular mobile game Pokémon Go, with Mitchell alerting his partner that a Snorlax, a Pokemon character was in the area. The video showed the two former cops speaking about the game for “20 minutes” as “they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones.”
Journalist David Leatt pointed out on Twitter that it’s much easier to get cops fired for catching imaginary creatures than for the killing of unarmed Black people.
Where’s the lie?
Well, imagine having to tell a future employer you got the boot from a job because you thought of trying to catch an imaginary Pokémon instead of stopping an actual robbery.
Photo: SOPA Images / Getty