LAPD Officers Fired For Pokémon Go Gaming On Duty
Two Los Angeles Police Department police officers were terminated in 2018 because they reportedly lied to investigators about ignoring a request for backup due to playing the Pokémon Go game in April 2017. Now, dashcam footage from that day has been released for public consumption.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the LAPD released video footage that reveals the action the officers took, or failed to take, when they were summoned to assist a fellow officer.
Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were fired in 2018 after a disciplinary panel ruled that they broke department policy when they ignored the backup request on a robbery call. According to the Times, the two officers then lied about playing the popular game at the time of the incident when they spoke to supervisors and investigators from Internal Affairs.
Two LAPD officers were fired in 2018 for failing to backup a colleague on a robbery call because they were playing Pokemon Go and for lying about it after the fact.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 7, 2023
The incident took place in the Crenshaw area of Los Angeles on April 15, 2017.
The officers could be heard in the video after their police captain requested backup for a robbery in progress call that involved several suspects at the Crenshaw Mall Macy’s department store. Lozano is heard saying “I don’t want to be his help” while they were parked less than 200 yards away, the LAPD said.
After an investigation, the police officers were charged with multiple counts of misconduct, including failing to respond to a robbery call and making misleading statements to department officials.
Lozano and Mitchell pleaded guilty to not responding to the radio call but not guilty to the other counts. Although they denied playing Pokémon Go at the time, they did acknowledge that they’d left their footbeat to find the Snorlax, one of the creatures connected to the game. They also said they did so as part of a “social media event” related to the game, as part of an “extra patrol,” and to “chase this mythical creature,” according to court records.
In closed-door disciplinary hearings, the disciplinary boards ruled unanimously against them. They stated that Mitchell and Lozano were “disingenuous and deceitful in their remarks” to investigators. They also said that the officers playing the game while on duty “violated the trust of the public” and represented “unprofessional and embarrassing behavior,” according to court records.
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