Dismissal confirmed for police who played Pokémon video game during heist

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A court upheld the firing of two police officers for playing video games instead of chasing criminals. Photo / 123RF

A U.S. appeals court ruled that two Los Angeles police officers were fired for playing Pokémon Go instead of responding to a robbery.

The California court ruled on Friday that the LAPD was justified in firing Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell for misconduct in 2017, the Sacramento Bee reported on Monday.

On April 15, 2017, a video system in their patrol car captured the officers discussing how to catch a Snorlax and trying to capture the rare Tegetic in-game while ignoring a report from several people who were stealing. a Macy’s in the Crenshaw area, according to the ruling.

A police captain who arrived at the scene saw another patrol car parked nearby and wondered why the police had not responded and responded himself, according to court documents.

Officers claimed they did not hear the backup radio request, but on the patrol car’s tapes they were overheard discussing whether to respond and Lozano could be heard saying: “Ah, shit,” according to court documents.

The officers are then heard for the next 20 minutes discussing the GPS-based augmented reality cell phone game Pokémon and traveling to various locations to “capture” virtual creatures, according to the documents.

Snorlax, one of the Pokémon the officers were chasing.  Photo / Supplied
Snorlax, one of the Pokémon the officers were chasing. Photo / Supplied

Court documents show that shortly after officers were asked to respond to the theft, Mitchell alerted Lozano that Snorlax “had just appeared.”

The court reported: “After Mitchell apparently caught the Snorlax – exclaiming, ‘I have them’ – the petitioners agreed to ‘take the Togetic’ and left.

“When their car stopped again, the [digital in-car video system] Mitchell recorded saying, ‘Don’t run away. Don’t run away, ”while Lozano described how he“ buried and ultra-balled ”the Togetic before announcing,“ I got it.

“Mitchell said he was'[s]until I try to catch it, ”adding,“ Holy shit, man. This thing is fighting against me. Finally, Mitchell exclaimed, ‘Holy Crap. Finally, “apparently in reference to the Togetic’s capture.”

The video also saw Mitchell say to his partner, “The […] guys are going to be so jealous. “

They were fired after a police rights board unanimously ruled that the two officers had “unprofessional and embarrassing” misconduct and violated public confidence.

The agents asked a court to overturn their dismissals, arguing among other things that the tapes of their private conversations had been abused as evidence but the judge of the Superior Court rejected their request. The Court of Appeal upheld this decision.

– Associated Press, additional reporting, NZ Herald

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