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Sacked cops who prioritized Snorlax catch in Pokémon GO over robbery call denied court review

By NICK GARCIA Published Apr 25, 2022 4:37 pm

Two police officers from Los Angeles—who were fired for prioritizing catching Snorlax in Pokémon GO over responding to a robbery chase—were denied a court review last April 20 after they appealed their "unfair" termination.

In 2017, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were patrolling the streets while chasing fantastic creatures in the augmented reality mobile game. They're in deep with catching not criminals but the game's relatively rare Snorlax.

Lozano and Mitchell's colleagues requested for backup during a robbery at a nearby department store, but reportedly ignored it. They also set their sights on securing another rare Pokémon, Togetic, while on the clock.

When their patrol supervisor quizzed them later on, they claimed to not have heard any call for backup as they had been at park with "loud" music.

But a review of their in-car recording proved otherwise.

According to court documents, Lozano told Mitchell, "I don't want to be his help" as they drove off. Mitchell also told Lozano a few minutes later that Snorlax "just popped up" in the game.

For the next 20 minutes, the recording captured the officers' discussion about Pokémon GO, with Mitchell exclaiming "Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me" at one point, referring to his struggles in catching Togetic.

"Got ‘em. Holy crap. Finally. The guys are going to be so jealous," he said.

Lozano and Mitchell were fired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2018 and were charged with multiple counts of misconduct.

They challenged the decision in California's court of appeals, arguing that it was "unfair" for the LAPD to use the recording in deciding to terminate them. The appellate court dismissed their petition and upheld their firing last Jan. 7.

The duo took the case to the California Supreme Court, but was also dismissed last April 20.