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Two Los Angeles Police Department officers have been fired for playing Pokémon GO on duty, after it emerged that the pair ignored calls of an active robbery to pursue a Snorlax in the popular mobile game.
While Niantic's augmented reality game might not be quite as dominant as it once was, it's still played by millions of users around the world. And who among us can say we haven't occasionally snuck off from work to do a little bit of Pokémon hunting on the sly? I know I have. Then again, I'm not supposed to be catching criminals and foiling robberies.
As reported by the LA Times, Officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were actually fired back in 2017 after they were caught playing Pokémon Go instead of responding to a robbery at the Crenshaw Mall.
However, California court documents reveal that the pair have spent the last few years attempting to have the LAPD's decision overturned. Unfortunately for them, the California Court of Appeal ruled last Friday to uphold a lower court's decision that the LAPD's firing of the two officers was entirely justified.
Details made available via the California Government website on January 7 reveal that Lozano and Mitchell were caught via their digital in-car video system (DICVS), which recorded them "willfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response to a robbery in progress and playing a Pokémon mobile phone game while on duty." Yikes.
When the call came in that multiple suspects were engaged in a robbery in progress at the Crenshaw Mall, a captain in the area responded. Lozano and Mitchell did not, which ultimately aroused the suspicions of their patrol supervisor, Sgt. Jose Gomez.
The documents go on to describe exactly where they were and what they were doing, revealing that the two officers could be heard on the radio playing Pokémon GO, all while the robbery was taking place. At one point, one of the officers can be heard alerting his partner to the fact a Snorlax just appeared. For the next 20 or so, the DICVS heard the pair talking about Pokémon as they drove around in pursuit of the Snorlax.
You can read the full details of the case right here. It makes for some truly extraordinary reading, I have to say.
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