In a week where tensions between the police and the public have repeatedly boiled over into violence, it’s nice to be able to report an amusing encounter where no one was hurt. Well, except for a police car that is. Baltimore Police released body cam footage yesterday of a group of officers standing on the street when out of nowhere a nearly 2 ton S.U.V. sideswipes their patrol car, sending it careening onto the sidewalk. When cops caught up with the driver, who stopped his car up the block, his first words were “That’s what I get for playing this dumb ass game.” The addictive Pokémon Go mobile app continues to claim accident victims, distracted by their phones as they search via GPS for the digital creatures and prizes.
Since its release earlier this summer, Pokémon Go has become one of the fastest selling mobile gaming apps of all time and has over 21 million active users in the United States alone. However, as Pokémania spread it has faced criticism, both for using cemetaries and memorial sites as PokéStops, and for distracted players looking down at their phones when they should be concentrating on where they’re going. At a press conference Tuesday, Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith said they’re have been several incidents of drivers distracted by the game and getting into accidents, as well as players being unaware of their surroundings and falling prey to criminals. "Way too many people have their heads buried in their phones trying to catch a Pokemon,” he said, adding, “The criminals are catching them.”