Two Los Angeles police officers were fired after they chose to chase a Snorlax in Pokemon GO instead of helping stop a robbery in progress at a local mall.
As reported by Vice and detailed in court documents, former LAPD officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were on foot beat patrol on April 15, 2017, when a robbery at the Macy's at Crenshaw Mall was taking place. Calls began going out to police in the vicinity to respond and some, like a unit that was at a homicide crime scene, rushed over to the mall.
Lozano and Mitchell, on the other hand, ignored the call at first and then responded with a simple, "no," when asked again. As it turns out, they "willfully failed to respond to the robbery call and attempted to conceal the fact" by saying they were somewhere other than where they actually were.
After listening to the recording in Lozano and Mitchell's police car, the LAPD also discovered they were playing Pokemon GO on the day of the robbery.
"The recording showed that, at approximately 6:09 p.m. (just five minutes after Officer Lozano said “screw it” to checking in with communications about the robbery call), Officer Mitchell alerted Lozano that 'Snorlax' 'just popped up' at '46th and Leimert,'" the court documents read. "After noting that 'Leimert doesn’t go all the way to 46th,' Lozano responded, 'Oh, you [know] what I can do? I’ll [go] down 11th and swing up on Crenshaw. I know that way I can get to it.' Mitchell suggested a different route, then told Lozano, 'We got four minutes.'
"For approximately the next 20 minutes, the DICVS captured petitioners discussing Pokémon as they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones. On their way to the Snorlax location, Officer Mitchell alerted Officer Lozano that 'a Togetic just popped up,' noting it was '[o]n Crenshaw, just South of 50th.' After Mitchell apparently caught the Snorlax — exclaiming, 'Got ‘em'—petitioners agreed to '[g]o get the Togetic' and drove off."
After successfully catching the Togetic after Lozano "buried it and ultra-balled" it, they decided to return to a 7-Eleven to end their watch. Later, they would lie about playing the game and even said they were "merely having a conversation about Pokemon GO" and that they were "capturing [an] image" of the Pokemon on a tracking app.
They were charged with multiple counts of on-duty misconduct and fired and would later try to appeal their case by saying they weren't aware their conversations were being recorded and that their words should be considered "private." On January 7, 2022, the court denied the appeal.
While this event may have taken place in 2017, 2022 will soon see the release of Pokemon Legends: Arceus – a new game in the beloved franchise that may offer yet another chance for someone to get in trouble for playing it when they really shouldn't.
For more on Snorlax, check out how this sleepy Pokemon's origins are actually inspired by a real person – the veteran Pokémon game designer Kōji Nishino.
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