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LAPD officers appeal termination after playing Pokemon GO during robbery

Published: 08:23, 11 January 2022
Niantic
Pokemon Go - Snoozing with Snorlax
Pokemon Go - Snoozing with Snorlax

Getting through a day at work can be bothersome but chasing after Snorlax instead of completing one's duties is probably something you haven't heard of before.

We all take games a little bit too far from time to time but in the case of former LAPD officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, it was more than just that. On April 15, 2017, a robbery happened at Macy's in the Crenshaw Mall where the duo's commanding officer, Captain Darnell Davenport, happened to be at the time, while en route to an unrelated homicide scene.

He noticed another unit's car that didn't respond to the radio call. The captain assumed it could be a traffic unit or one from a different division with a different radio frequency. The car eventually left the scene and Davenport responded to the call himself while Sargeant Jose Gomez determined the car was the one with Lozano and Mitchell in it.

Following the entire mess, Gomez kept investigating what happened and while the duo claimed they didn't hear the radio call due to the noise from the park, the digital in-car video system (DICVS) revealed the full story.

Reviewing the recording yielded evidence the officers indeed heard the call and ignored it but it wasn't until detective Tracy McClanahan that the investigation took a somewhat comedic turn.

She kept reviewing the DICVS recording and eventually found out Lozano and Mitchell started talking about Pokemon GO mere minutes after ignoring the radio call. At one point, they got excited to see that Snorlax popped up and went to chase it, followed by a hunt for Togetic. The situation went on for 20 minutes.

Just like you might imagine, this incident went to court and the defendants' attorney claimed DICVS violated their privacy. The duo also claimed they didn't actually play POGO while on duty, leading to this particular gem from the court filings .

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.”

The petition, which was filed on January 7, 2022, got denied as you can see in the government files linked above.

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