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New footage released of LAPD officers ignoring call for backup to play Pokémon GO

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“I don’t want to be his help,” said former Los Angeles Police Officer Louis Lozano in recently released dashcam footage, in regards to a request for backup from a Los Angeles Police Department captain. The captain was responding to a robbery inside the Crenshaw Mall which took place on April 15th, 2017, the department reports, during which time Lozano and fellow former Officer Eric Mitchell were parked in their squad car less than 200 yards away, playing Pokémon GO. Court documents reveal that the officers then drove away from the scene of the robbery in pursuit of Snorlax and Togetic.

In the over three hours’ worth of footage released this week, Lozano, who had been with LAPD for 17 years, and Mitchell, who had been an officer for 7 years, are heard discussing Pokémon GO repeatedly, in one instance parked in one location for roughly 25 minutes playing the mobile game. While before the release of this new footage, the incidents on April 15th were only described in court documents and LAPD records, an internal disciplinary panel unanimously found that the officers’ ignoring the call for backup was a breach of department policy. Lozano and Mitchell were also found to have lied about the incident during the subsequent internal investigation, stating that they were in a local park with members of the community playing loud music and did not hear the radio call.

Louis Lozano in 2018
Lozano and Mitchell initially denied playing Pokémon GO on duty, but admitted to using a third-party app designed to track Mythical Pokémon’s locations. “There was a Larvitar earlier, when we first got out,” one officer can be heard to say while parked in the new footage, and later, “It’s nice to have more Pokéballs, and the potions.” In yet another moment, an officer talks about Pikachu over information coming in on the squad car radio. The LA Times reports that Lozano and Mitchell’s “Pokémon GO lexicon” recorded during the footage was used as evidence during their disciplinary hearings.

The officers were ultimately found guilty on multiple counts of misconduct and fired in 2018. The officers’ attorney Greg Yacoubian (himself a former LAPD officer), claims his clients’ right to privacy was violated by the dashcam being inadvertently left recording. The appeal submitted by Yacoubian was struck down before the California Court of Appeal, which concluded that LAPD was justified in the firings.
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