LAPD officers fired for chasing Pokémon during robbery rejected appeal – National

Two Los Angeles police officers who were more keen on catching Pokémon than villains have failed in their attempts to get their jobs back.

LAPD officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell ignored a 2017 broadcast in response to a local robbery, and instead chose to chase a Snorlax on Pokémon Go, a GPS-based, augmented reality mobile phone game, court documents released last week show.

They were fired later in 2017 after the discovery of their attempted secret activity.

The couple appealed to have their dismissals overturned, but the California Court of Appeal ruled the dismissals were justified.

The officers decided to go for a Snorlax instead of responding to a robbery.

Courtesy / Pokémon Go

According to the documents, April 15, 2017 was a busy day for the LAPD’s Southwest Division, and there were more calls than police cars available to respond due to a homicide earlier in the day.

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Lozano and Mitchell were parked near the Crenshaw Mall when a call went out asking officers to respond to an ongoing robbery in Macy’s department store in the mall.

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A commander of the division reportedly heard a radio call for the robbery at the time, and a patrol leader, Sgt. Jose Gomez, tried to send a radio to Lozano and Mitchell’s device to provide backup, but did not receive a response.

Lozano and Mitchell later claimed they were in dialogue with members of the local community in a noisy park and did not hear the call for help.

But court records show Gomez became suspicious of their “peculiar” apology and checked the footage from the officers’ dashcam system.

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He learned that the officers not only ignored the call but also broadcast a radio code in another area and tried to hide that they were near the robbery.

“I do not want to be his help,” Lozano was heard saying to Mitchell regarding the commander’s request for backup. “Oh, suck it,” he added.

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Five minutes later, Mitchell told Lozano that “Snorlax,” a Pokémon in the mobile game, “just showed up” at a nearby location.

Officers spent the next 20 minutes “discussing Pokémon as they drove to various locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their cell phones,” according to court documents that also describe Snorlax as “the sleeping Pokémon.”

On his way to catch Snorlax, Mitchell told Lozano that another Pokémon had appeared – this time it was a Togetic. They prioritized catching Snorlax before continuing to catch Togetic.

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After reviewing the patrol unit’s dashcam footage, Gomez’s discovery went up the ladder, leading to the fraudulent investigation that would result in the dismissals.

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The officers’ attorney, Greg Yacoubian, told the Washington Post that officers were disappointed that the court found their dismissals justified, adding that they have not ruled out appealing their case to the state Supreme Court.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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