Do y’all remember Pokémon GO, the mobile app game that, a few years ago, had people walking out in the middle of the street, getting robbed and running smack into various hazards while staring at their phone screens trying to catch a figure that only existed on said phone screens?
Well, if you had to guess at all the dangers of the game, it’s likely “cops just saying ‘f*** it'” wasn’t on your bingo card. Yet, in 2017, two LAPD officers were fired after their patrol car’s in-vehicle dash-cam caught them ignoring a robbery call so they could play the game. And on Monday, a California appeals court denied the ex-cops’ bid to get their jobs back.
According to court documents, on April 15, 2017, former officers Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell received a call about a robbery in progress at Crenshaw Mall. The two reportedly explained their absence by saying they were in a “loud area” and simply didn’t hear the call, but the dash-cam footage reviewed by the department the next day showed they did, indeed, hear the call but chose to ignore it despite them being located a “short distance from the mall” where the robbery was happening.
In fact, Lozano could be heard on the recording saying “screw it” shortly after the call came in and Mitchel was heard telling his partner that a “Snorlax just popped up at 46th and Leimert.” (Apparently, a Snorlax is a rare Pokémon. Don’t feel bad if you already knew that—it only means you’re a child or an unbelievable nerd.) The LAPD investigation also found that the two went on discussing the game for “approximately the next 20 minutes.”
According to Newsweek, “Lozano and Mitchell argued that the in-vehicle recording system was used improperly by the city in a disciplinary manner and that Los Angeles officials used private conversations obtained by the recording system to justify the termination.”
What the hell would an in-vehicle recording system even be used for if not to monitor what goes on inside the patrol car in case of police misconduct or anything else that might be used as evidence? It’s wild that the ex-cops weren’t even arguing that they did nothing wrong, but were instead arguing that the department had no right to use its own surveillance tools to catch them doing wrong.
Obviously, the court was hearing none of that blue nonsense and upheld the cop’s firings stating that they were caught “willfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response” and that they were “disingenuous and deceitful in their remarks” to superiors.
Listen: It’s a good thing these cops were taken off the streets because they might be a danger to citizens of the most marginalized and vulnerable race among us—the Pokémon community.
Who knows how many POC (Pokémon ogled by cops) have been dealing with constant harassment by police officers? Obviously, Lozano and Mitchell spent a lot of time following them around when they were minding their own business and breaking no laws and trying to take them into custody without probable cause. It wouldn’t be surprising if racist officers were intentionally calling a certain one “Pikerchu” with the hard R then telling their superiors it was an honest mistake.
Just because the PLM movement isn’t getting much steam doesn’t mean Poké brutality isn’t a serious problem in America.
Systemic anti-Poké-ism in policing has to stop.