Court documents revealed that two LAPD cops were fired for choosing to catch Snorlax in Pokémon GO instead of responding to a robbery. The incident happened back in 2017. The California Court of Appeals upheld the firing of the two officers, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, on January 7 a few days back after they tried to appeal against the termination of their employment.
Earlier this week, the lawsuit went viral after a 32-page pdf surrounding the entire case was uploaded to the internet. It goes into great detail regarding Lozano’s and Mitchell’s conversation that was recorded by the digital in-car video system (DICVS) of their patrol car.
After ignoring a request to respond to a robbery in progress, the two cops went on to drive around a neighbourhood to catch a Snorlax that appeared on their Pokémon GO app. After that, the pair was caught discussing Pokémon for approximately 20 minutes as they drove around following the Pokémon that appeared. After apparently catching the Snorlax, they went on to catch a Togetic next. You can read the entire document chronicling their adventures here.
When confronted with the evidence from the recording, this was how the officers responded:
Petitioners also denied playing Pokémon Go while on duty. They claimed they were monitoring a “Pokémon tracker” application on their phone, but not playing the game itself. As for “catching” Pokémon, Officer Lozano insisted this referred to “capturing [an] image” of the Pokémon on the tracking application to share with friends, while Officer Mitchell said his statements about “fighting” the Togetic referred to “relaying that information to the groups on my app,” adding that, “in order to take the picture, occasionally, the creature will fight.” Lozano said they were not engaged in a game; rather, it was a “social media event.” Mitchell said he did not consider the application a game because it was not “advertised as a game.” Petitioners admitted leaving their foot beat area in search of Snorlax, but they insisted they did so “both” as part of an “extra patrol” and to “chase this mythical creature.”
Pokémon GO may be known for causing traffic accidents, but indirectly causing police officers to lose their jobs might be a first. Regardless, please play your video games responsibly.