Skip to Content
Crime

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

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.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

This Peruvian Street-Style Fried Chicken Inside a 30-Year-Old Taquería Is the Valley’s Best-Kept Secret

“I'm very proud of bringing our food, Peruvian food, and the acceptance from our Mexican brothers,” says chef Omar Zavala, who is from Peru and took over Taqueria Juanito's with his wife, Carmen, five years ago.

May 22, 2024

New In the L.A. TACO Shop

We've restocked some of your favorite items and added some great new ones. If you can't become a member, buying our merchandise is also a great way to support our inclusive street-level journalism! All of our t-shirts are hand-printed in Los Angeles.

May 21, 2024

Open Thread: What Is L.A.-Style Food?

What is L.A. food to you? Which cuisines, restaurants, or chefs have defined our city's uniquely good eats? Tell us your thoughts.

Money Has Run Out for Fruits and Vegetables for Low-Income Californians. Elected Leaders Are Silent.

The fresh food rebate pilot program delivered on its promises, but politicians won’t promise to put it in the budget.

May 20, 2024

Protester Whose Testicle Exploded After LAPD Officer Shot Him with ‘Less Lethal’ Firearm Receives $1.5 Million Settlement

Benjamin Montemayor had been protesting on Hollywood Boulevard for several hours on June 2, 2020, when at least 50 police officers descended upon his group and began firing munitions at the crowd, according to his civil rights lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court.

May 17, 2024
See all posts