- According to the LAPD, officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell ignored a backup call for a robbery in 2017 and played Pokémon GO about 20 minutes after the request instead.
- Both officers lied about why they couldn't respond to the dispatch call, citing they were "in a park with loud music and didn't hear it."
- The patrol car's camera exposed what the officers were really doing, leading to both getting fired after a disciplinary board found them guilty of breaking department policy.
Since its inception, Pokémon GO has been the subject of many real-life circumstances, some more bizarre and terrifying than others. It’s to be expected of a popular mobile AR game built around engagement, walking, and interacting with others out in the world.
That said, I’m sure people itching for a way to blow off time at work might find some enjoyment in Pokémon GO, but it could also be a detriment.
The latter was the case for Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell. Instead of answering a backup call for a robbery, both chose to play Pokémon GO instead of helping a fellow officer.
LAPD learned this through a video captured from the patrol car’s camera months later, and what happened next for them isn’t too surprising.
LAPD officers were fired for playing ‘Pokémon GO’ instead of doing their jobs.
Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were both fired in 2018, according to a report from Fox11 in Los Angeles.
The firing came more than a year after the incident; both were found guilty of breaking department policy by a disciplinary board. The officers tried to appeal, but a California Court of Appeal upheld the LAPD’s decision.
The video footage from the patrol car’s dashboard ruined what slim chances the ex-officers had. On April 15, 2017, Louis and Eric were heard dismissing the robbery call during the footage.
“Should we ask to see if there is a message?” Louis asked Mitchell. “Maybe they want us to go over there and help out.” Both seemed to debate until the decision came up to Louis, the senior officer. “Ahh, screw it,” he said.
According to Fox11, the officers started playing Pokémon GO about 20 minutes after the robbery call, discussing the game’s mechanics and driving around to collect creatures.
“Snorlax just popped up,” Eric said during the video.
Supposedly, Eric and Louis told their department that they didn’t hear the call, saying they were “in a park with loud music.” When the LAPD watched the video, Eric and Louis were charged with misconduct, which later led to the disciplinary panel voting that unanimously recommended they both get fired.
“In evaluating the actions of Lozano and Mitchell while playing video games on their phone, the board took issue with their complete disregard for the community and wasteful nature of their behavior,” read a report from the board.
It’s unclear if other LAPD officers have had similar incidents and what measures the department may be taking now to be more watchful of those on duty.