Photo: Getty Images
  /  01.11.2022

The California Court of Appeal upheld the firing of two LAPD police officers who ignored a robbery to play Pokémon Go, The Los Angeles Times reports. According to court records, which were reported by the outlet on Monday (Jan. 10), the two cops were caught searching for virtual Pokémon rather than responding to an active robbery at the Crenshaw Mall in 2017.

At the time, officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell claimed they hadn’t heard the radio call about the robbery. However, after reviewing the cops’ in-car video footage, their patrol supervisor Sgt. Jose Gomez found that not only did they hear the radio call, they chose to ignore it. According to court documents, officer Lozano allegedly said, “Ah, screw it,” after the active robbery was radioed in.

Instead, an internal affairs investigation found that the two officers were playing Pokémon Go and driving their patrol car to different locations in search of the imaginary creatures. Lozano and Mitchell later denied they were playing the game, but did admit to leaving their foot beat to find the “Snorlax” Pokémon, which they claimed was part of an “extra patrol” social media event.

The officers were charged with multiple counts of misconduct and fired from the department, but have tried to appeal the decision for years. In the most recent court documents, Lozano and Mitchell claimed the LAPD improperly recorded their in-car conversation that led to their termination. They also alleged that their rights were violated when they were questioned about the incident without legal or labor representation present.

However, California Court of Appeal rejected both arguments and said “it would be preposterous to require commanding officers and internal affairs investigators to ignore evidence of ‘criminal or egregious misconduct’ simply because it was unintentionally captured” about the in-car recording.

On Monday, Greg Yacoubian, the two cops’ attorney, said they “obviously are disappointed” with the ruling and “considering how to proceed.”


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