A South Florida man playing the newly launched Pokémon Go caught more than he expected when he stumbled across a white police officer beating an unarmed black man.
Felix Katcher was walking through his Homestead neighborhood trying to catch a Diglett on the mobile game when he happened upon a white uniformed police officer attacking an unarmed black University of Miami medical student.
“As I was searching for the Diglett, Pokémon Go’s server must have gone down. I kept trying to restart the app and I guess I accidentally opened my camera. At first, I thought I was watching a Wartortle battle the Diglett I was after, but then I realized what I was seeing.”
Mr. Katcher uploaded the video to Facebook seconds after he realized what he had recorded.
The video comes less than a week after the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both of which were captured on video, sparking this month’s nationwide outcry that #BlackLivesMatter. Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile’s murders prompted protests across the country, including one in Dallas where several police officers were also tragically killed.
Pokémon Go was also launched last week and has become the most downloaded app in America, compelling adults like Mr. Katcher to meander aimlessly as they try to “catch ‘em all”.
In a statement from the Homestead Police Department, Sargent Gary Davis said that the unnamed white officer’s violence was justified. “The suspect had clearly pulled out what appeared to be a gun and our officer responded in accordance with his training,” said Sargent Davis who had not yet seen the recording.
Leonard Johnson, the victim of the attack, denies that he was attempting to garnish a weapon, stating that he was himself merely pulling out his phone to check the area for Pokémon when the Homestead police officer spotted him. “I was only in the area because I was told I could catch a Dragonair around there. If it wasn’t for Pokémon Go this wouldn’t have happened,” said Mr. Johnson, “also, if I wasn’t black.”
In an exclusive interview with the Plantain, Mr. Katcher’s Squirtle, who was also witness to the attack, said: “Squirtle Squirtle, sad Squirtle. Stop killing black people, Squirtle Squirtle.”
Mr. Katcher has received praise on social media for posting the video but insists that it was not his intention to start a conversation about race. “I was only focused on catching that Diglett,” confessed Mr. Katcher. When asked whether he was aware that the object of Pokémon Go was to catch “ALL” of the Pokémon, and not just Digletts, the 32-year-old said: “Well obviously, but I’m not going to ignore the Diglett that is in front of me that desperately needs catchin’ just because there are also other Pokémon in the world.”
BY Joey Ganguzza of Villain Theater