Relaxo instead of criminal hunt: police officers let robbers go – because they prefer to catch Pokémon
Pokémon Go paralyzed the world in the summer of 2016. Much later, a Relaxo caused further unrest in Los Angeles. And for a successful escape after a robbery.
Roads that were impassable, jam-packed squares and parks and tons of bizarre accidents. Anyone who met an unexpected crowd of enthusiastic people in the summer of 2016 knew: Pokémon Go is played here. In Los Angeles, the game caused trouble even later: Two police officers whistled about a robbery. Because they’d rather arrest a Pokémon.
That comes from the records of an appeals court in California. Accordingly, the two cops Louis L. and Eric M. were in a patrol car in Los Angeles in April 2017 when they received an emergency call from the headquarters. A branch of the US clothing chain Macy’s in the nearby shopping center in the Crenshaw district was attacked by several people. But the two ignored the call for action. They also left a second request unanswered. They were captured by a camera system in the company car. According to the court, M. is said to have said that L. should decide. And got a “fuck it” answer.
Pokémon instead of criminal hunting
Instead of going to the crime scene, the car then moved away from the mall, according to the lawsuit. And the reason for this was also recorded: A Snorlax had appeared on Pokémon Go. “It just popped up”, M. alerted his colleague. The two quickly started a discussion in the car. However, it was not a matter of weighing up compulsory service and playing – but rather the question of which route they could use to reach the virtual animal the fastest.
They both knew: the clock is ticking. After all, Pokémon disappear again after a short time. “We have four minutes”, M. cheered on his colleague accordingly. The quick hunt for the Relaxo – it was apparently quickly grasped according to a “Have it” by M. – but then degenerated. On the way, the officers had discovered a Togetic that they wanted to catch next. “Don’t run away, don’t run away”, M. can be heard in the recordings, while L. reports that he processed the Pokémon with items and used an ultraball before he could finally announce victory. M. took a little longer. “Holy shit, the cattle fight like hell,” he cursed. Until a relieved “Holy Shit, finally” rang out from him too.
According to the records, the two had spent almost 20 minutes hunting in total. And the robbers were long gone. Not that the cops noticed. First they drove to a supermarket. And commented on their catches on the way. “The boys will be so jealous”, M. is supposed to have said. “I got you a new Pokémon today, boy.”
Excuses and counterclaims
In retrospect, the two officials said they were misunderstood. They told their supervisor that they hadn’t heard the radio. The Pokémon hunt is also said to be a misunderstanding, they justified themselves in a disciplinary questionnaire. They just talked about the beasts. M. also received messages from a group of friends and commented on them. The friends would have bragged about their catches. “Detective McClanahan concluded they weren’t telling the truth,” the report said.
The action had serious consequences for the two officers. Both were charged with not responding to the robbery call and lying about it. They are also accused of not answering and then not taking care of the emergency call. And finally there was the forbidden Pokémon hunt in the company car and the lies about it. “The judicial body has therefore unanimously found her guilty,” says the report. Only the accusation of not responding to the emergency call was dropped. Both were released.
Now the appellate court has confirmed the judgment. The aim of the two’s appeal was to have the recordings of their conversations assessed as inadmissible evidence. The aim of the system is “to equip the officers with a tool to fight crime and not to eavesdrop on their private conversations,” according to a resolution. However, this does not apply to accidentally recorded conversations in disciplinary proceedings, the court ruled. The cops are now only allowed to catch Pokémon – and no more gangsters.