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Two police officers have been denied a court review after being fired for apparently ignoring a robbery to play Pokémon Go.
The mobile game might not be as popular nowadays as it was in the summer of 2016, but it makes for a good source of entertainment for anyone looking to pass a bit of time while out and about.
Still, it should go without saying that players shouldn't ignore urgent matters - such as crime - in favour of playing the game, as Los Angeles Police Department officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were accused of doing in 2017.
The pair were patrolling in the LAPD's Southwest division on what has been described in the case as a busy day with more calls than police cars that were available to respond.
The division's patrol commanding officer heard a radio call for a robbery in progress and the patrol supervisor, Sergeant Jose Gomez, tried to radio Lozano and Mitchell's unit to ask for backup but received no response, USA Today reports.
Later the pair claimed they had been at a park with loud music and did not hear the call, but recordings from the officers’ digital in-car video system (DICVS) revealed they had been close to the scene during the robbery and ignored the request for backup.
Lozano allegedly told Mitchell, "I don't want to be his help," and a few minutes later Mitchell told Lozano the Pokémon Snorlax had 'just popped up' on the game.
Court documents stated that for the next 20 minutes, the officers were 'discussing Pokémon as they drove to different locations where the virtual creatures apparently appeared on their mobile phones'.
The pair succeeded in capturing their Snorlax, with Mitchell exclaiming, "Got ‘em. Holy crap. Finally. The guys are going to be so jealous."
Both officers were ultimately terminated from the LAPD in 2018 following a unanimous vote to fire them, but the pair appealed the case and argued the DICVS should not have been used as evidence and that their rights were violated when their patrol supervisor questioned them without an opportunity to have legal representation.
The appeal was denied on 7 January 2022, and on Wednesday 20 April they took their case to the California Supreme Court to seek a new court review.
As reported by Bloomberg Law, however, the former officers failed to convince the court the recordings were used unfairly in the LAPD’s decision to end their employment.
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Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Daniel Garrido/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
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