No Snorlax on the Job

January 10, 2022 Renoir

In what I hope will be the most extraordinary legal filing in 2022, two Los Angeles police officers have lost their appeal for being fired for playing Pokémon Go.

Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell (petitioners), former police officers for the City of Los Angeles (the City), filed a petition for writ of administrative mandate challenging the City’s decision to terminate their employment. A board of rights found petitioners guilty on multiple counts of misconduct, based in part on a digital in-car video system (DICVS) recording that captured petitioners willfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response to a robbery in progress and playing a Pokémon mobile phone game while on duty.

Let’s skip over the bit about them not responding when called to the scene of a robbery in progress because that part is a snore-fest. The good stuff starts on page 7, where we learn that the officers were also playing Pokémon Go on the day of the robbery.

Officer Mitchell alerted Lozano that “Snorlax” just popped up” at “46th and Leimert.”

After Mitchell apparently caught the Snorlax exclaiming, “Got ‘em” petitioners agreed to “[g]o get the Togetic” and drove off.

Their defense was laughable. The officers claimed that they weren’t really playing the game, just driving around town reporting back to others who were playing the game where they could find them. And then there was this:

Petitioners admitted leaving their foot beat area in search of Snorlax, but they insisted they did so “both” as part of an “extra patrol” and to “chase this mythical creature.”