Court documents have revealed details of a story of two LAPD officers who were fired from the force back in 2017 for playing Pokémon GO on duty — whilst ignoring calls for backup at a nearby robbery-in-progress.
As reported by Vice, Officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, who have just had their appeal for reinstatement denied by a California judge, were in the vicinity of an ongoing robbery at a Macy’s in Crenshaw when they received urgent calls from colleagues to provide support. Instead, the pair relocated from the area of the crime in order to hunt down a Snorlax, as well as a rarer Togetic, in Niantic’s smash hit mobile game.
When originally questioned about their failure to respond to their radio, the officers insisted they had been in a loud area and failed to hear the calls for assistance. However, upon further investigation of their dashcam, it turned out the pair had in fact blatantly ignored their in-car comms in favour of excitedly hunting down Pokémon, even moving their squad car to several different locations in order to track them down.
Court documents filed on the incident illustrate with quotes just how involved the two police officers were in their Pokémon hunt:
After Mitchell apparently caught the Snorlax—exclaiming, “Got ‘em”—petitioners agreed to “[g]o get the Togetic” and drove off. When their car stopped again, the DICVS recorded Mitchell saying, “Don’t run away. Don’t run away,” while Lozano described how he “buried it and ultra-balled” the Togetic before announcing, “Got him.” Mitchell advised he was “[s]till trying to catch it,” adding, “Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me.”
Eventually Mitchell exclaimed, “Holy Crap. Finally,” apparently in reference to capturing the Togetic, and he remarked, “The[ ] guys are going to be so jealous.”
Petitioners then agreed to return to the 7-Eleven (where Sergeant Gomez later met them) to end their watch. On the way, Mitchell remarked, “I got you a new Pokémon today, dude.”
In the wake of the incident, officers Lozano and Mitchell attempted to have themselves reinstated, arguing that their vehicle’s in-car recording devices weren’t meant to be used to record “private conversations”, an appeal that was denied by the local judge.
The pair may not have caught any criminals that day, after blatantly ignoring calls to help colleagues, but they can at least take solace in the fact that they bagged two tricky Pokémon.