Pokemon Go is certainly one of the popular games played by fans across the world. However, it seems two cops in Los Angeles took their love for the game too far. The Augmented Reality (AR) game, which was released in 2016, certainly was a pop culture event, and for Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell the game cost them their jobs. In 2017, the two were fired for ignoring the call to respond to a robbery at a mall in the Baldwin Hills community. Although the disciplinary action may seem extreme, a California appeals court has upheld the firing of two Los Angeles police officers who ignored a call about an active robbery to play Pokémon Go. The incident took place in April 2017. Huffington Post reported the two cops claimed not to have heard the call, when they were questioned about the incident by LAPD Sergeant Jose Gomez that evening.
According to The Verge, Gomez was skeptical of their explanation and checked the in-car recording system, also known as the dashcam of their official vehicles. The recordings revealed that the two had heard the call and chose to go pursue their quest for Pokemon creatures. The supervisor reported this incident, which opened a formal investigation against the two.
The in-car recording of the conversation between Lozano and Mitchell revealed that they had heard the call, spoken about it and decided not to respond, reported Huffington Post. Citing court records, Huffington Post mentioned that soon after the duo decided to ignore the call, Mitchell allegedly told Lozano that a Pokemon character called Snorlax had popped up nearby. According to official court records, the two police officials were discussing Pokémon for the next 20 minutes as the in-car recording revealed. They drove to different locations where the Pokemon Go virtual creatures appeared on their smartphones. Lozano and Mitchell did not stop their Pokemon Go hunt at Snorlax, the two then went on to look for another Pokemon character Togetic, reported Huffington Post.
Even though Lorano and Mitchell appealed against their firing, saying that the in-vehicle recordings were not meant to be used to monitor officers’ “private conversations,” but a judge ruled that the premise was “flawed” and denied their appeal.