Investigation reveals that Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell heard the call but ignored it in favor of pursuing a nearby Snorlax
Last modified on Tue 11 Jan 2022 14.08 EST
Two Los Angeles police officers were fired for ignoring a robbery call so they could attempt to catch a character in a game of Pokémon Go, according to court documents.
Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were asked to respond to a robbery in progress with “multiple suspects” at a Macy’s in south-west LA, but failed to respond to radio calls.
An investigation revealed that Lozano and Mitchell heard the call but chose to ignore it in favor of pursuing a nearby Snorlax, a Pokémon character.
A video system in the pair’s car revealed that Mitchell managed to capture the Snorlax before the pair drove to a location where the Togetic character had been spotted. On arrival, both Lozano and Mitchell managed to capture the Togetic.
The incident occurred in April 2017 but details were revealed by an appeals court on Friday. Vice first reported on the case. Lozano and Mitchell were fired following an investigation, but appealed. The court upheld their dismissal.
The recording from Lozano and Mitchell’s car captured the pair discussing Pokémon Go, an augmented reality mobile game where users travel to different locations.
According to court documents, minutes after the officers were asked to respond to the Macy’s robbery, “Officer Mitchell alerted Lozano that Snorlax ‘just popped up’ at ‘46th and Leimert’.”
The court reported: “After Mitchell apparently caught the Snorlax – exclaiming, ‘Got ’em’ – petitioners agreed to ‘[g]o get the Togetic’ and drove off.
“When their car stopped again, the [digital in-car video system] recorded Mitchell saying, ‘Don’t run away. Don’t run away,’ while Lozano described how he ‘buried it and ultra-balled’ the Togetic before announcing, ‘Got him.’
“Mitchell advised he was ‘[s]till trying to catch it,’ adding, ‘Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me.’ Eventually Mitchell exclaimed, ‘Holy Crap. Finally,’ apparently in reference to capturing the Togetic.”
The video system recorded Mitchell adding: “The […] guys are going to be so jealous.”
The officers argued that the recording should not have been used in their disciplinary proceeding, and said they had been denied the protections of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act. The court disagreed.
Bulbapedia.net, a community-sourced Pokémon encyclopedia, describes Snorlax as a “huge, bipedal, dark blue-green Pokémon with a cream-colored face, belly, and feet”.
Togetic, Bulbapedia says, is a small flying Pokémon that can “sense the kindness in other people”.