Way back in 2016 and 2017, it was rare to see a month go by without some sort of dreadful story about Pokemon Go filtering up from local news media. Either someone had been hurt while playing, or players had somehow managed to violate international law while playing, or Niantic was being sued… it seemed endless. As to that first, players even put together a morbid Pokemon Go Death Tracker website that lists (with sources) all the publicized deaths and injuries related to the game. It’s 24 and 62, respectively, if you’re wondering, though it hasn’t seen an entry since 2022.
And fortunately, the list isn’t getting any longer, but it could’ve been much worse. Readers might recall that last year, we learned about an incident in Los Angeles that saw two LAPD officers fired from their jobs for playing Pokemon Go while on duty back in 2017. As we noted at the time, the case came to be public knowledge thanks to the officers’ appeals, which were denied in 2022; the filings revealed that the duo had failed to respond to their Captain’s requests for backup at a robbery. Police detectives ultimately used the pair’s own vehicle recordings to determine they’d been driving around talking about and playing Pokemon Go (and they very clearly were), which resulted in their termination from the force.
Part of the cops’ appeal of that termination revolved around their claim that the vehicle recordings should’ve been inadmissible in court. The courts denied that element of the appeal along with the rest, but that did mean the public hadn’t seen the footage. Now, thanks to dogged public records requests on the part of the ex-Motherboard journalists now at 404 Media, we do, and it’s actually worse than the transcripts published last year show. As 404 notes, the police “also rolled through a stop sign, sped through residential neighborhoods and zoomed over speed bumps, tailgated various cars, and drove the wrong way down a one-way road in order to catch ’em all[.]” They also then lie to their superiors about why they were radio-silent for 40 minutes.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
The abbreviated version of the three-hour run is viewable in the ABC7 News clip below, but 404 has a longer version that we aren’t gonna yoink. You know, in case you needed more videos to get your blood pressure spiking today.