A California appellate court has ruled that two Los Angeles police officers from the LAPD were fired for playing Pokémon Go on the job while ignoring a robbery call.
The court ruled that the LAPD was justified in firing the officers, whose identities were revealed as Eric Mitchell and Louis Lozano, for misconduct in 2017.
According to the ruling, the incident which took place on April 15, 2017, showed a video recorded in their patrol car, which captured the officers discussing how to catch a Snorlax and trying to capture the rare Tegetic in the game, subsequently ignoring a report of several people who were in the process of robbing a Macy’s in the Crenshaw area.
The court documents shared that a police captain who arrived at the scene was baffled after seeing another patrol vehicle parked nearby and wondered why the officers didn’t respond, and he went on to answer the call himself.
The court filings stated that “The officers claimed they hadn’t heard the radio request for backup at a robbery scene in 2017, but patrol car recordings reveal one cop (Lozano) said, ‘Ah, screw it.'”
For the next twenty minutes, both officers were heard discussing the GPS-based Pokémon augmented reality mobile game and driving to different locations to “capture” the game’s virtual creatures, said the filings.
Both Lozano and Michelle were fired after a police board of rights came to a unanimous rule that the two officers committed a misconduct that was “unprofessional and embarrassing” and it violated the public’s trust.
The officers requested that the court overturn their firings, arguing that the recordings of their private conversations were improperly used as evidence among other things, but the Superior Court judge denied their petition.