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A Highly Detailed Account of How Two LAPD Cops Got Fired After Ignoring a Robbery to Catch Snorlax on Pokémon GO

12:33 PM PST on January 11, 2022

In an accusation that makes Chief Wiggum and the Springfield police look like Scotland Yard in comparison, two LAPD officers were recently terminated for neglecting to protect and serve so they could play a game of Pokémon Go.

It was April 15, 2017. We were so young. So innocent.

Jabba the Hut had recently been inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. Earth’s united citizens were embracing ice bucket challenges and creating distracted boyfriend memes as the strains of “Despacito” and “Bad & Boujee” reverberated throughout their brainstems. Toilet paper and emergency room beds were ample.

That’s when two cops from the Southwest Division, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell, were supposed to be out on a foot beat patrol. Calls were many that day and there had already been one homicide when a radio call went out for a robbery going down at the Macy’s at the Crenshaw Mall.

Commanding officer Captain Darnell Davenport was en route to the scene of the homicide when he heard it, according to a recently released legal brief. With the Macy’s in view, Davenport could also see an idling police car in a nearby alley. Assuming it was not taking the call because it was from a different division or traffic patrol, he responded to the robbery call while watching the car take off and leave the scene.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Jose Gomez, the errant cops’ patrol supervisor at the time, placed a call to the Lozano and Mitchell, requesting them to back up the Captain at the mall amid a “chaotic” five-to-seven minutes. A second request was answered with a simple “no,” as a different unit left the scene of the homicide to assist.

Suspicious of their behavior, Gomez arranged a meetup that evening, in which the cops stated that they never heard the call for backup, telling the sergeant that the music was too loud in the park they were at.

Gomez let the officers go with the sage advice that they might want to be in a place where they can clearly hear the sounds emanating from their radio, but something was still bugging him the next morning. He decided to take a look at the digital in-car video system (DICVS) to get a sense of just what the hell these dudes were doing.

The video showed them hearing the radio call, identifying Davenport, and willfully ignoring his request, covering it up, and even saying, “I don’t want to be his help,” after giggling about the whole situation and ignoring several more radio messages.

A web of lies was spun and shortly detangled with the help of Detective Tracy McClanahan, who led the ensuing misconduct investigation, focusing on the officers’ failure to respond, false statements to a superior, and neglecting a radio call.

The humiliating peak of the investigation found that five minutes after officer Lozano told his partner “screw it” in reference to the backup requests, Mitchell alerted him that an ultra-rare Pokémon Go character known as Snorlax “just popped up at 46th and Leimert,” initiating a discussion about how they could best hunt it down. A 20-minute search for the Snorlax ensued, in which the officers didn’t stop a robbery in progress, but did bag a Togetic Pokémon who is always asleep.

At one point Mitchell is quoted in the investigation as saying shit like, “Holy crap, man. This thing is fighting the crap out of me” and “the guys are going to be so jealous.” On the way to the 7-11, where they’d later meet with Gomez, the officer said, “I got you a new Pokémon today, dude.”

Long story short, the department reviewed the alleged misconduct, with a whole bunch of apparent bullshit from the officers about how they were not actually playing Pokémon Go but monitoring a Pokémon Go tracker on their phones. Ultimately, they were both fired or “removed from employment with the department” in Babylon-speak.

The whole thing came to light because of a petition the ex-cops issued about the legality of admitting the DICVS footage into evidence, seeking to be reinstated. Said legal challenge was unsuccessful but has given us so much to chortle about today, we’re kinda glad they went for it. You can check it out right here.

As for the Snorlax, which L.A. TACO’s own resident Pokémon Go expert, Erick Huerta, says “ain't that hard” to catch... well, it reportedly turned its life around after surviving its brush with the LAPD. It got fit, read some Plato, and is currently hoping to start a non-profit so that kids won’t make the same mistakes that it did.

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