Pokemon GO has always had players do some of the most bizarre things. Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchel, former police officers for the City of Los Angeles, filed a petition against the city of LA last week for them being fired. The officers were fired for ignoring a robbery in order to catch Snorlax in the viral game Pokemon GO.
The officers claimed that the city acted improperly by using in-car recordings of them while sending them off. Unsurprisingly the court denied their petition. The LAPD officers received a call of a robbery in progress at a Macy’s in the Crenshaw Mall according to the appeal court.
According to testimony from LAPD Seargent Gomez, he answered the call and requested backup. Lazano and Mitchel failed to respond to the call. Upon asking the officers as to why they had not shown up for backup. The two officers mentioned it was due to being in a loud area of the city.
Gomez didn’t believe their claims and instituted a review of the in-car recording of the officers. In the recording, the officer found out that the two had heard the radio call and even discussed whether or not to respond to it. Their decision was to not assist LAPD Captain Davenport with the robbery situation. Upon inspecting further, the detectives assigned to the case found that the two officers were playing Pokemon Go.
The detectives learned that the officers were pursuing a Snorlax on 46th and Leimert, instead of working their duty. Further inspection also reported that they had spotted a Togetic, which they successfully captured, unlike the suspects that they were supposed to be pursuing.
The two officers were ultimately fired under the following charges:
- Failing to respond to the robbery call
- Making misleading statements to their sergeant
- Failing to respond over radio when their unit was called
- Failing to handle an assigned radio call
- Play Pokemon Go while on patrol
- Making false statements to Detective McClanahan during the investigation
A board of rights found that the two officers were guilty of multiple counts of misconduct which led them to get fired. The board used the in-car video to confirm that the officers “willfully abdicated their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response to a robbery in progress and playing a Pokemon mobile game while on duty.” The officers claim that the city violated the law by using the in-car recording in the proceedings and by denying protections afforded to officers by the POBRA act. The court disagreed with their claims, and the verdict was that they will remain fired.
The petitioners denied playing Pokemon Go, and argued they were simply monitoring the Pokemon Tracker application. Lozano reportedly claimed that he was just capturing an image of the pokemon via a companion app. They also mentioned that by referring to “fighting” the Togetic, they really “meant relaying information to the groups on the app.” However, the officers admitted to leaving their positions to search for a Snorlax, according to the judgment.
The court found that the city properly used the car recordings in the disciplinary proceedings. The court also found out that Sergeant Gomez’s questioning did not violate the petitioner’s rights under the POBRA act.