A pair of former police officers have just lost their appeal to overturn being fired from the LAPD for playing Pokemon GO on the job back in 2017.
The full appellate document from the appeal sheds more light on what happened during the incident, which occurred back in April 2017, around the height of the game’s popularity. The two officers had been assigned to a foot beat in Southwest LA, when a call came in about a robbery occurring nearby. Their supervising Sergeant radioed them to assist with halting the robbery, but the two officers did not respond to the call.
Although the two officers claimed that they had not heard the call over the noise and chatter of the park where they were stationed, investigation of their digital in-car video system (DICVS) footage revealed the truth: The two officers did hear the call, but had chosen to ignore it in favor of driving away to chase after a Snorlax in Pokemon GO, spending half an hour talking about the game on the way.
The official court documents also contain a few amusing footnotes and excerpts from the video footage, such as the following:
- According to evidence admitted at the board of rights hearing, “Snorlax” is a Pokémon creature known as “the Sleeping Pokémon.”
- According to evidence admitted at the board of rights hearing, “Togetic” is a Pokémon creature known as a “happy, cheerful and a ditsy” Pokémon.
- “[I] buried and ultra-balled [the Togetic],”
- “Holy crap, Man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me,”
- “The  guys are going to be so jealous.”
The two officers initially denied they had been playing Pokemon GO at the time, and argued that the DICVS footage should not be admissible in court. The two also reportedly attempted to explain away their actions with bizarre excuses such as “they weren’t ‘catching’ Pokémon but ‘capturing an image’”, that “it was a ‘social media event’ that was advertised as a game”, and that “they left for ‘extra patrol’ and to ‘chase this mythical creature'”.
Ultimately, their appeal was rejected by the courts, and their firing for misconduct was upheld, hopefully serving as a harsh lesson for law enforcement about the consequences of slacking off on their duties, especially to in favor of Pokemon GO.
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