LAPD Officers Fired for Playing Pokémon GO On the Job

The officers gained a Snorlax, but lost their jobs.
The officers gained a Snorlax, but lost their jobs. / Credit to Niantic

Two Los Angeles Police Departments officers have been fired for playing Pokémon GO rather than assisting a commanding officer during a robbery in progress, Axios reports.

An investigation found that Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, a pair of officers with a total of 28 years of service between them, had ignored a request by their commanding officer to assist them in handling an in-progress robbery at a nearby Macy's. The two officers opted instead to chase Snorlaxes and Togetics in Pokémon GO, and were caught doing so by the digital in-car video system (DICVS) dash cam. They were ultimately fired for that decision, and for attempting to lie to cover it up.

Newly published court documents provide details on the events as they unfolded:

"On their way to the Snorlax location, Officer Mitchell alerted Officer Lozano that 'a Togetic just popped up,' noting it was '[o]n Crenshaw, just South of 50th.' 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 DICVS 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, and he remarked, 'The[ ] guys are going to be so jealous.' Petitioners then agreed to return to the 7-Eleven (where Sergeant Gomez later met them) to end their watch. On the way, Mitchell remarked, 'I got you a new Pokémon today, dude.'"

Representatives for Lozano and Mitchell filed a petition seeking to appeal their firing, arguing that use of the DICVS footage as part of the investigation violated protections on private conversations between officers. The appeal was denied Jan. 7.