"It's clear from the images shared with us by CNN that our game assets were appropriated and misused in promotions by third parties without our permission", Niantic, the makers of Pokémon Go, said in a statement provided to CNN.
The campaign is said to be tied to agents in Russian Federation, and reportedly used services like Facebook and Twitter to exploit racial tensions in the US.
It's unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish, though it may have been to remind people living near places where these incidents had taken place of what had happened and to upset or anger them.
Don't Shoot Us instructed followers to name Pokémon after a victim of police brutality - the example used Eric Garner - then share screenshots of it near the "crime scene", the news outlet reports. CNN could not find evidence that anyone actually participated in the contest, it said, or that the page had distributed the gift cards. According to CNN's source, the Don't Shoot Us page was one of 470 Facebook accounts taken down once Facebook discovered it was connected to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) - a group of trolls who run influence operations on behalf of the Kremlin.
Niantic has launched the Pokémon GO AR Photo Contest this week, challenging players to snap "epic AR photos" while trying to catch 'mon.