Bank Of America mistakes "Black Panther" director Ryan Coogler for robber, calls police

Mar 10 2022, 9:33 pm

Ryan Coogler, the director of Marvel and Disney’s iconic 2018 film Black Panther, was handcuffed in Atlanta after he tried to withdraw money from his own bank account.

Coogler was at a Bank Of America location on January 7, 2022, trying to withdraw US$12,000 from his checking account. He handed a note to the teller asking her to be discreet while counting the bills, possibly due to the large amount of money.

Despite him having a valid bank account number, his ID, and a working debit card, the teller called the cops on the filmmaker for “attempted robbery.” He was escorted out, handcuffed, and was made to sit in the back of a police car without his phone.

The Atlanta Police Department has now apologized to Coogler. Here’s what happened:

According to police bodycam footage of the teller’s interrogation, Coogler handed her a deposit slip with a note that she quotes read: “I want to withdraw 12,000. Be discreet.”

The teller, who is pregnant, said she asked Coogler for his ID, which he provided. Once she saw it was a California ID her “stomach started turning.”

She inserted his debit card into her machine and it flagged the transaction as high-risk. “My stomach was so shook up, I couldn’t even look at his first and last name [on the ID],” she said, later confirming that his ID did, in fact, match his valid Bank Of America account number.

“I told my manager I don’t feel comfortable about this transaction,” she told officers, adding that the manager proposed talking to Coogler, but she wasn’t comfortable doing so. “No, I’m pregnant! I don’t know if he’s got a gun,” she told him.

In the words of the teller, the filmmaker was “just being weird.”

A police offer read out the note in the bodycam footage: “Do the money counting somewhere else — I’d like to be discreet,” it stated.

While handcuffed outside the bank, surrounded by police officers, Coogler was asked questions such as, “You got weapons on you, buddy?” to which he replied, “I got nothing on me, bro.”

Police noted on the case say that officers arrived outside the bank and saw a black Lexus with a man and a woman inside. The driver suspected officers were getting in touch to request moving the vehicle from parking in front of the bank.

When the party in the car was asked what they were doing, they said they were waiting for Coogler. They were asked to provide a description of Coogler and what he was wearing.

“The description that was given of Mr. Coogler matched the description of the male suspect that is attempting to rob the Bank Of America,” the Incident Report Cover Sheet reads. The two people in the car were made to sit in the back of a separate patrol vehicle.

The report further states that it was later determined that Bank Of America was at fault, and “Mr. Coogler was never in the wrong” and police apologized for the mistake made by Bank Of America.

On Wednesday, Variety spoke to Coogler, who confirmed the incident and said the situation should never have happened.

“However, Bank Of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on,” he told them.

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