Years ago, there existed a trending craze that had people walking out into the middle of the street and/or into stationary objects because they were too focused on their phone screens to watch where they were going. We all remember the Pokémon GO mobile game app.
We remember that it started out as something fun for anime fans or anyone who just enjoyed that kind of thing, but it quickly devolved into a public safety hazard for the accident-prone. What probably wasn’t on any of our radars regarding the dangers of the game, was the possibility that police officers might be so distracted by the virtual Pokémon hunt that they would ignore crimes that were happening around them.
According to CNN, now-former Los Angeles Police Department officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were fired in 2017 after their patrol car’s in-vehicle dash-cam caught them ignoring a robbery call so they could chase after imaginary figures on a screen instead of robbery suspects. Capt. Darnell Davenport reportedly heard the call come in while he was on his way to investigate an unrelated homicide. From inside his car, Davenport could see the Macy’s at Crenshaw Plaza that was being robbed. He could also see a police car in a nearby alley that left the scene without responding to the call—Lozano and Mitchell were sitting in that car.
Davenport later questioned the two officers about why they didn’t take the call. Both officers claimed they never heard the call come in because it was really loud where they were located. Mitchell is quoted as saying there was “a lot of music” and that it was “really loud in the park,” while Lozano said, “We have no control over the system and all the loud noise—it was loud.”
But they were both lying their little blue a***** off.
Lozano and Mitchell tried to challenge their firings, but a California appellate court upheld their firings Monday and stated in the ruling that they were caught “willfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response” and that they were “disingenuous and deceitful in their remarks” to superiors, according to court documents.
The ruling was largely made based on the fact that Lozano could be heard on the dash-cam recording saying “screw it” shortly after the call came in and Mitchel was heard telling his partner that a “Snorlax just popped up at 46th and Leimert.” (Apparently, a Snorlax is a rare Pokémon.) The LAPD investigation also found that the two went on discussing the game for “approximately the next 20 minutes.”
I mean, at least they were out harassing imaginary Pokémon instead of Black people, amirite?