Two LAPD Officers Terminated for Playing Pokémon Go Instead of Responding to a Robbery

Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell will not be getting their jobs back, following a California appeals court’s decision to uphold their 2017 firings after ignoring a backup call in favor of playing Pokémon GO.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

A California appellate court has upheld a case from April 15, 2017, in which two Los Angeles Police Department officers failed to respond to a nearby robbery, choosing instead to play Pokémon GO.

Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, who were initially fired in 2017 after they were caught perusing the Pokémon GO app for virtual characters, have since lost an appeal to get their jobs back.

Court filings detailed how Lozano and Mitchell blatantly ignored calls for backup in regard to a robbery occurring at a Macy’s department store, as they were absorbed in pursuing a Snorlax, one of the rarest creatures on Pokémon GO, in 2017.

Sgt. Jose Gomez, the patrol supervisor who made the backup request that day, questioned the then-active officers about their whereabouts, to which Lozano and Mitchell responded they had not heard the call because they had been in a park where there was a significant amount of noise.

The officers eventually admitted to leaving the bounds of their beat area to hunt the Snorlax, explaining their decision to do so as part of an “extra patrol” and to “chase this mythical creature.”

The fresh re-emergence of the story has generated a flurry of online buzz, with some individuals drawing attention to the fact that police officers across America have retained their jobs after committing far more egregious offenses.

In asking the court to overturn their firings, Lozano and Mitchell asserted that the recordings of their private conversations had been used as improper evidence, though their petition was ultimately denied.

Greg Yacoubian, the officers’ attorney, wrote in an email to NPR that his team is “evaluating how to best proceed” and that his clients are “understandably disappointed” with the court of appeals’ opinion.