LAPD Officers Ignore Robbery to Play ‘Pokémon GO’

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Both officers were fired for abandoning their duty.

When you’re playing Pokémon GO on your phone, the game gives you a warning to be mindful of your surroundings and obey and local foot traffic laws. This is presumably intended to keep people from walking into the street while playing, but I’d say there’s an unspoken implication there that you shouldn’t be playing if you have something more important to tend to. For example, an active robbery.

Two LAPD beat cops, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, were fired from their positions when it was discovered they had willfully ignored an active robbery call to play Pokémon GO, specifically to catch a Snorlax. Evidence of this dereliction of duty came from recordings obtained from their squad car.

“The recording showed that, at approximately 6:09 p.m. (just five minutes after Officer Lozano said “screw it” to checking in with communications about the robbery call), Officer Mitchell alerted Lozano that ‘Snorlax’ ‘just popped up’ at ’46th and Leimert,'” the court documents obtained originally obtained by Vice read. “After noting that ‘Leimert doesn’t go all the way to 46th,’ Lozano responded, ‘Oh, you [know] what I can do? I’ll [go] down 11th and swing up on Crenshaw. I know that way I can get to it.’ Mitchell suggested a different route, then told Lozano, ‘We got four minutes.'”

“For approximately the next 20 minutes, the DICVS captured petitioners discussing Pokémon as they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones. On their way to the Snorlax location, Officer Mitchell alerted Officer Lozano that ‘a Togetic just popped up,’ noting it was ‘[o]n Crenshaw, just South of 50th.’ After Mitchell apparently caught the Snorlax — exclaiming, ‘Got ‘em’—petitioners agreed to ‘[g]o get the Togetic’ and drove off.”

The incident in question occurred back in April of 2017, and last week the former officers attempted to appeal the firing. The court denied their appeal outright.

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