Two Los Angeles police officers lost an appeal against their firing on Friday, after reportedly playing the ‘Pokemon GO’ mobile game while cruising the city’s streets instead of responding to a call about a robbery.
According to in-car recordings, in April 2017 Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell of the Los Angeles Police Department engaged in a ‘Pokemon Go’ hunt while on duty, cruising around the city and managing to snatch a Snorlax and a hard-to-catch Togetic. That’s despite receiving a call about a robbery at a nearby department store, to which the two officers reportedly said “screw it” and drove off to look for virtual pocket monsters.
Both officers have been fired as a result of the investigation that revealed their unhealthy game addiction. They deny the allegations, however, claiming they were merely discussing the game, and not actually playing it.
However, the legal documents that relate to the investigation have shown that at one point “Officer Mitchell alerted Lozano that ‘Snorlax’ ‘just popped up,’” after which the officers drove around for 20 minutes, going to different locations to capture Pokemon.
“Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me,” officer Mitchell reportedly said upon encountering an ultra-rare Togetic. “The guys are going to be so jealous,” he said after finally catching the virtual critter.
Both officers were charged with six counts of on-duty misconduct. While trying to appeal the decision, the officers admitted to failing to respond to the robbery call and hunting down a Snorlax, but called it an “extra patrol.” They insisted that they weren’t actively hunting Pokemon, but were merely taking pictures and sending them to their friends. Mitchell even claimed that he was unaware that ‘Pokemon GO’ was an actual game and said it wasn’t “advertised as a game.”
The two officers maintain that their firing was “too harsh” a punishment and that their behavior merely lacking good judgment.