Two LAPD Officers Fired for Ignoring Robbery to Catch Snorlax in Pokémon Go

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The post Two LAPD Officers Fired for Ignoring Robbery to Catch Snorlax in Pokémon Go appeared first on Consequence.

Gotta catch ’em all? Two LAPD officers have been fired after an investigation showed that they ignored a robbery in progress because they had spotted a Snorlax in Pokémon Go.

According to court documents published by the state of California, on April 15th, 2017, former officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell failed to respond to a radio call asking for assistance with a robbery at the Macy’s in Crenshaw Mall, even though they were parked in an alley just off Crenshaw Blvd within sight of the Macy’s. Instead, they focused on the augmented reality game Pokémon Go, which tasks players with searching real-life locations in order to capture the virtual creatures.

After hearing about a “211 [robbery] in progress,” the two men immediately shirked their duty by “placing themselves Code 6 somewhere else.” At that time, a digital in-car video system (DICVS) caught Officer Mitchell alerting Lozano that a “Snorlax” had “just popped up” at “46th and Leimert.”

“Aw, screw it,” Lozano said. The two men discussed different routes they could take, and Mitchell said, “We got four minutes.” But they spent more than 20 minutes in pursuit of Pokémon.

On the way to the Snorlax, Officer Mitchell told Officer Lozano of a different creature, saying “a Togetic just popped up.” As the robbery continued, the DICVS captured Mitchell and Lozano battling the Togetic. Mitchell could be heard pleading, “Don’t run away. Don’t run away,” and saying, ““Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me.” Meanwhile, Lozano announced he had “buried it and ultra-balled” the Togetic. After a few minutes, Mitchell was apparently successful, saying, “Holy crap. Finally.”

As they left the location, Mitchell remarked, “The guys are going to be so jealous,” and added, “I got you a new Pokémon today, dude.”

Other officers who responded to the robbery saw Mitchell and Lozano’s car near the Macy’s but driving away from it. That evening, Sergeant Gomez began investigating why they didn’t help, and they claimed that they couldn’t hear the radio. The next day, Gomez pulled the DICVS records and heard the men ignoring the radio during a heated hunt for Pokémon.

Mitchell and Lozano denied playing games on duty, instead insisting they were monitoring a “Pokémon tracker” on their phone.  When presented with their own dialogue about capturing and fighting Pokémon, Lozano said he was just “capturing [an] image” on his phone, while Mitchell claimed that he was merely “relaying that information to the groups on my app,” and added, “in order to take the picture, occasionally, the creature will fight.”

While they eventually admitted to leaving the area to search for a Snorlax, they said it was “both” to accomplish an “extra patrol” as well as to “chase this mythical creature.”

Lozano and Mitchell were ultimately fired. They appealed, and on January 7th, 2022, their dismissal was upheld by Judge Mary H. Strobel.

It’s unclear if they ever caught a Snorlax.

While Pokémon Go has decreased in popularity since its heyday in 2016 and 2017, the Pokémon brand is as strong as ever, and Netflix is currently working on a live-action series adaptation.

Two LAPD Officers Fired for Ignoring Robbery to Catch Snorlax in Pokémon Go
Wren Graves

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