On April 15, 2017, Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were LAPD officers. Pokémon Go was all the rage, and these two officers chose to ignore a request for assistance from a fellow officer because catching a Snorlax (a Pokémon Go character) was way more important to them.
Thankfully, their dereliction of duty did not cost that officer’s life, but it did cost these two morons their jobs.
As it should.
Everyone makes mistakes. I get that, but Lozano and Mitchell did not make a “mistake.”
They broke their oath and abdicated their duty.
When a police officer swears “To Serve and Protect” he or she makes a conscious decision to put the lives and safety of others, including their fellow police officers, above their own.
Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell violated their oath on April 15, 2017, and it cost them their careers.
As it should.
Both men (and I use that term loosely in relation to Lozano and Mitchell) appealed their dismissal from the LAPD, claiming the City of Los Angeles broke the law by using the evidence of their misconduct recorded by their squad car’s digital in-car video system.
The California Court of Appeals refused to reinstate these two morons, stating, in part:
A board of rights found petitioners guilty on multiple counts of misconduct, based in part on a digital in-car video system (DICVS) recording that captured petitioners willfully abdicating their duty to assist a commanding officer’s response to a robbery in progress and playing a Pokémon mobile phone game while on duty.
Contrary to petitioners’ construction, Notice 13.5 does not impose an evidentiary threshold on a commanding officer’s authority to review a DICVS recording. Rather, the notice means exactly what it says—that “a personal communication will not be used to initiate a personnel complaint investigation . . . unless there is evidence of criminal or egregious misconduct.”(Italics added.)
Nothing in Notice 13.5 suggests there must be independent evidence of criminal or egregious misconduct before the DICVS recording may be reviewed. Indeed, because the Professional Standards Bureau published the notice to provide “guidelines” for “determining appropriate and reasonable responses to possible misconduct … discovered during the review of [ ]DICV[S] recordings” (italics added), the only reasonable reading of the text is that it authorizes the initiation of disciplinary proceedings when the DICVS recording itself discloses evidence of criminal or egregious misconduct.
Thus, while Notice 13.5 ensures that Department personnel will not be subject to discipline for minor infractions or purely private communications unrelated to their police work (as long as the private communications do not evidence criminal misconduct), the notice reasonably provides that commanding officers will not be forced to ignore egregious misconduct that is unintentionally captured on a DICVS recording.
Petitioners do not dispute that the DICVS recording constituted evidence of egregious misconduct. And the record plainly shows Sergeant Gomez initiated a misconduct complaint investigation based on this evidence.
We conclude the City proceeded in the manner required by law with respect to the DICVS recording.
The judgment is affirmed. The City and the Chief of Police are entitled to costs, if any.
It’s a great day for justice when those who abdicate their responsibilities and break their oath of office are forced to deal with the unpleasant consequences of their actions.