back to article LAPD cops who preferred playing Pokémon Go to tackling robbery can be fired, appeals court rules

A California appeals court last week upheld the discharge of two Los Angeles police officers for ignoring a robbery call because they were busy playing Pokémon Go while on duty. Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, fired from the City of Los Angeles Police Department in 2017 on misconduct charges, after it was found they had …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wow. Nearly 20 years and then playing video games at work.

    I've played video games at the office for a job, where the owners were every bit as much into gaming as their friends and staff, and so hosted LAN parties on Friday nights. But I've never played video games during office hours unless "the boss" had called an end to the day and proclaimed it time for the games to begin...

    1. ShadowSystems

      Yup yup yup!

      If I was supposed to be working then no games got played. If the boss said the games were ok then I'd go ahead & play. Usually the LAN party, but occaisionally stuff like NetHack or Rogue.

      I can't imagine how those officers thought it a good idea to give their job TheFinger so they could play a game. Especially a crime in progress call. That alone should be enough to not only fire them, but fine them, strip them of their badges, & toss them in jail to have all the time in the world to goof off.

      1. fobobob

        Re: Yup yup yup!

        I like to dabble with DCSS ('crawl') while i'm waiting on processes to complete - it's nice and non-committal as well. For my dad, it was Freecell/sol/winmine.

  2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    Addicted?

    Video game designers often try to make their games addictive, so maybe the two officers will now sue the creators of Pokemon Go for having lost their jobs due to addiction?

    I would use the 'joke alert' icon, but actually in the USA they probably could.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Addicted?

      I would use the 'joke alert' icon, but actually in the USA they probably could.

      They can sure try, but Niantic will probably fight it on principle and has much deeper pockets to pay lawyers than those two (and take them to the cleaners).

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Addicted?

        You are probably correct, but the 'no win, no fee' lawyers might take this up as a class action type case for all those people addicted to video and computer games who have suffered as a result.

  3. 9Rune5
    Thumb Up

    Police Quest III: Revenge of the pokemon

    Sigh. I miss Sierra On-Line.

  4. mikus

    One of my childhood friends used to tell me how he "gamed" the system as a DPS freeway officer to make an actual decent salary, as cops don't typically get paid the most. He would work a LOT of overtime with odd jobs at odd hours, thus improving his income, but usually just hanging out at DOT construction jobs playing his Gameboy or watching TV.

    You know, those guys that sit in a cop car at off-ramps you're NOT supposed to get off at, with his lights on, doing nothing 99% of the time. Before that I always thought they just parked an empty car there with the lights on to scare people off, but no, your tax dollars pay for someone to be in there, doing nothing but playing games or watching TV in one flavor or another, usually at time and a half hourly rates.

    This was even more egregious, like actually opting NOT to show up to a robbery because pokemon go was more important, but still, it always irked me a bit when he'd call me bored during those overtime sitting festivals with nothing better to do but soak up my tax dollars. I guess that's why we aren't close friends anymore...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > but still, it always irked me a bit when he'd call me bored during those overtime sitting festivals with nothing better to do but soak up my tax dollars.

      So, basically, the city didn't pay enough to get conscientious workers but ended-up paying the same amount anyway? Yay for the city!

      1. The Basis of everything is...

        Boston Police (Mass, not Lincolnshire) would be paid overtime to guard roadworks. I was never sure if that was to prevent people falling into them, or to make sure only the wrong sort of people were being disposed of in them.

        1. ShadowSystems
          Coffee/keyboard

          I wish I could UpVote you another thousand times.

          My screen reader said your username & the next line as if it were all a single line entry.

          "The Basis of everything is ... an inappropriate post".

          I'm still LMAO & will buy you a dozen pints in congratulations over such an awesome arrangement. =-D

        2. jake Silver badge

          "I was never sure if that was to prevent people falling into them, or to make sure only the wrong sort of people were being disposed of in them."

          Here in California, the general consensus is that the cops are posted in such places to make sure the roadworks don't get stolen.

        3. Kane
          Joke

          "I was never sure if that was to prevent people falling into them, or to make sure only the wrong sort of people were being disposed of in them."

          Could be both?

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      If you need a police presence in a location, to enable swift response to any calls (traffic accidents or criminal activity), the police need to be somewhere there. Parking out of the normal traffic in full view provides a visible presence encouraging people to drive safely through simply reminding them by being there.

      So those police "doing nothing 99% of the time"? That's because you only see them when they're not doing anything else, and even there they're helping you reach your destination swiftly and safely.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Sounds to me like ...

        ... we need to ensure that drivers can actually drive, not to pay cops to sit on their keister for hours on end. One works everywhere, the other only works in as many places as we have cops.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "cops don't typically get paid the most"

      While this is certainly literally true (only one person somewhere gets paid the most, and that person isn't a cop), I don't think these particular officers can claim to be so grossly underpaid that they needn't bother doing their job. Like most government jobs in the US, being an LAPD patrol officer pays quite well. Source: https://www.joinlapd.com/salary. Given their time on the force and the possibility of even minimal overtime, they were certainly making over $100k a year, not including non-cash comp like a medical plan and time off, and also not including the generous pension plan that pretty much only government employees get nowadays, at taxpayer expense naturally. There are very few private-sector jobs in which someone who never finished high school can get a 6-figure salary, full medical, and a fat pension. What's especially astonishing is that LAPD pensions vest after 20 years of service, and one of these clowns had 18 years in at the time. Choosing to play a game instead of doing his job cost him at least $1m. Everyone in LA should be relieved that someone with such poor judgment is no longer being paid to carry a gun in their city.

      Some will point out that $100k or even $125k plus generous non-cash comp and a pension still isn't that much in LA, but it's certainly enough to live decently well. It's also a lot more than many people are paid and most of them presumably don't expect to sit around playing video games all day without getting fired when the boss finds out. Let's lay to rest the "poor public servant" defense. These guys were getting plenty of money to do their jobs with the promise of a lot more later in life. There's no excuse.

  5. Ceyarrecks

    Infamy

    this Pokemon incident will live in INFAMY!

    nothing can EVER be said to justify or remove it.

    I wonder, off hand, if these now fired Mall cops will get hired by the company that makes Pokemon,... hmm,...

  6. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    LARP Cops

    I briefly misread the headline out of the corner of my eye as "LARP Cops". Then I read the article and I think I got it right the first time.

  7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    guilty of all but the first count.

    WTF? I wonder why they weren't found guilty of "1. Failing to respond to a robbery-in-progress call;" but WERE found guilty of all the other charges? It must be some sort of technicality because at least one of the other charges pretty much damns them for not attending the call.

  8. Allan George Dyer
    Joke

    Missed Opportunity?

    How about tagging crimes with Pokémon, using the rare ones for the more serious crimes, and let the gamers police the city?

    I'm a little worried that some cash-strapped mayor will actually take this seriously.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Missed Opportunity?

      "How about tagging crimes with Pokémon, using the rare ones for the more serious crimes, and let the gamers police the city?"

      The return of the bounty-hunters!

  9. Adrian 4

    Pokemon Go

    is still a thing ?

    1. KarMann Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Pokemon Go

      Do note that the incident in question happened about five years ago, not long after Hillary Clinton's 'Pokemon Go-to-the-polls' line, so it wouldn't quite follow that it's 'still a thing.'

  10. TRT Silver badge

    Poke Mongo

    Far more fun for everyone except Mongo.

    1. Tom 7

      Re: Poke Mongo

      Mongo just pawn in game of life!

  11. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
    Holmes

    There's got the plot of a terrible heist film written all over it.

    Hack into Pokemon Go servers in order to make a Pikachu (?) appear on the other side of the city while you break into the bank.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Die Hard 5? Another firesale.

  12. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    I misread the headline as "cant be fired" and came here to rant , phew , all is well with the world again.

    well not *all* is well , but ...

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      Close. Note that, while the LAPD had them banged to rights, they bloody nearly got away with it on the grounds of; "yes, this evidence is indeed both damning and cast iron, but it's inadmissible because ${bullshit_and_handwringing} so tough shit".

  13. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Trollface

    So they were fired because they missed the opportunity to shoot someone?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Don't be fucking stupid. It's not becoming.

    2. Aquatyger

      They were fired because they knew it was a waste of time to arrest anybody, especially if the theft was only for a few thousand dollars.

  14. adam 40 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    At least you can't be fired

    for reading "The Register"....

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