Early Pokémon Go frenzy apparently led to poor choices by two police officers. As Axios‘ Stjepan Totilo i BBC news report, the LAPD is now known fired police officers Louis Lausanne and Eric Mitchell for ignoring the April 15, 2017 robbery to play Niantic’s augmented reality blockbuster. Instead of answering a radio call asking for support for Macy’s theft at Crenshaw Mall, officers reportedly spent the next 20 minutes driving around to catch Snorlax (an unusual discovery in the game) and Togetic.
Lozano and Mitchell denied playing Pokémon Go and insisted they were just “talking” about the game, but the camera in the car revealed that they were talking about a call for a robbery and decided to ignore it. Another officer also testified that the cruiser left the area after the call. Details came to light when former police officers lost a complaint that would have dropped the damn footage for alleged rights violations.
The incident happened months after Niantic began discouraging drivers from playing, and it can be said that moments like this are less likely when Pokémon Go demand has cooled. However, this highlights the dangers of both AR metaverse and addictive playfulness – it can be too tempting to avoid real-life commitments when the virtual world is enticing.
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