Court upholds firing of LAPD officers for playing Pokémon Go during robbery

National and World
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(THE HILL) – The firing of two former Los Angeles police officers who were found to have failed to respond to a robbery while playing Pokémon Go has been upheld in court.

The California Court of Appeal ruled in court documents that were published on Friday that the firings of Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were justified, according to USA Today.

Lozano and Mitchell had appealed the Los Angeles Police Department’s decision, arguing that digital in-car video recording of their private conversations was improperly used to prove that they played Pokémon Go and ignored a robbery at the Crenshaw Mall in 2017, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The pair also reportedly claimed that they were wrongly subjected to questioning without having proper legal or labor representation.

A commanding officer for LAPD’s southwest division reportedly heard a radio call for the robbery at the time and a patrol supervisor, Sgt. Jose Gomez, then attempted to radio Lozano and Mitchell to provide backup but did not receive a response.

The former officers at the time contended that they were in a noisy park engaging with community members and did not hear the call, the Times reported.

But court records showed that Gomez checked the in-car video from the officers’ car the next day and it showed that after he radioed for back up, Lozano said “screw it,” and Mitchell told Lozano that the Pokémon character Snorlax was nearby in the game. Both officers then reportedly began “discussing Pokémon” for 20 minutes “as they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones.”

The officers’ attorney, Greg Yacoubian, told the Times that both Lozano and Mitchell “obviously are disappointed” with the ruling and are “considering how to proceed.” 

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