“Aw, screw it”: LAPD cops hunted Pokémon instead of responding to robbery

Enlarge / Visitors view a 10-meter-tall Pikachu glass and steel sculpture in Shanghai, China On November 28, 2021. (credit: Getty Images | Future Publishing)

A California appeals court has upheld the firings of two Los Angeles Police Department officers who failed to respond to a robbery in progress and instead went searching for a Snorlax in the Pokémon Go augmented reality game.

Officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were being recorded by a digital in-car video system (DICVS) when they decided to catch a Pokémon after not responding to a robbery on Saturday, April 15, 2017, according to the California Court of Appeal ruling issued Friday. A board of rights found the officers “guilty on multiple counts of misconduct” based on part on the “recording that captured petitioners willfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response to a robbery in progress and playing a Pokémon mobile phone game while on duty,” the ruling said.

The former officers appealed, claiming the city “proceeded in a manner contrary to the law by using the DICVS recording in their disciplinary proceeding and by denying them the protections of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act,” Friday’s ruling said. A trial court denied the petition challenging the firings, and a three-judge panel at the appeals court unanimously upheld that decision on Friday.

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