A California court on Monday dismissed the appeals of two former Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers who were fired in 2017 for ignoring an ongoing robbery for playing the mobile game Pokémon Go.,
Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were terminated from the LAPD after court documents revealed they failed to respond to an active robbery at the Crenshaw Mall in western Los Angeles. The pair appealed the decision, but the court upheld the dismissal.
In court filings released last Friday, the appeals court found that the pair were “guilty of multiple counts of misconduct” after their police car’s in-vehicle dash-cam recording system allowed them to “assist in a commanding officer’s response.” deliberately renounced his duty”. to play the game. The court also found that the evidence showed that the two officers were “pretentious and deceitful in their remarks” towards superiors.
Lozano and Mitchell argued that the in-vehicle recording system was used inappropriately by the city in a disciplinary manner, and that Los Angeles officials used private conversations obtained by the recording system to justify the termination. The pair then filed a petition to get their jobs back, but to no avail.
According to court documents, the incident in question took place on April 15, 2017. Lozano and Michele were on patrol on a busy Saturday, with more emergency calls coming in than police cars available, according to the court report.
The pair’s commanding officer reportedly heard a call on the radio for a robbery-in-progress at the mall and radioed for Lozano and Michelle to respond to the crime. However, the pair ignored the call, and when their commanding officer later questioned them about the incident, Lozano and Michele stated that they were in “loud territory” due to loud music playing in a park. Didn’t hear radio call.
The two reportedly told investigators that a commanding officer had never previously called for backup, although this was later proven to be untrue.
Despite Lozano and Mitchell’s claims, when the LAPD reviewed the in-vehicle recording system the next day, police officers uncovered video that showed the pair had actually heard the robbery call, but were playing Pokémon Go. For it was overlooked, despite only being “short” in distance from the mall.”
“Screw it,” Lozano is reportedly heard saying, shortly after the robbery call arrives. Michelle reportedly told Lozano that “Snorlax” [a rare Pokémon] Just popped up on the 46th and Lemurt.”
The pair reportedly discussed various routes to get to the area with Snorlax, and the pair were heard discussing various aspects of the game for “about the next 20 minutes”.
According to court documents, both Lozano and Mitchell are heard playing through different aspects of the game. Finally, Michelle tells Lozano that “I got you a new Pokémon today, man.”
This incident happened at a time when the Pokémon Go craze was spreading all over the world.
Released in 2016, the mobile app allowed users to “track” and “catch” virtual creatures known as Pokémon in real-world environments using GPS locating and AR technology. Although its popularity has waned over the years, at its height the game generated more than $6 billion in revenue and over a billion global downloads.
However, controversy arose around the game, partly due to issues such as the LAPD incident, and the gameplay’s use in sensitive sites such as cemeteries and war memorials.
newsweek has reached out to the LAPD for comment.