Atlanta police mistook 'Black Panther' director Ryan Coogler for bank robber during January incident

Ryan Coogler
Posted at 12:59 PM, Mar 10, 2022

Acclaimed director Ryan Coogler was briefly handcuffed by Atlanta police in January after a bank employee mistook him for a robber when he passed her a note while trying to withdraw a large amount of cash from his account.

The director of "Black Panther" walked into a Bank of America branch in Atlanta's upscale Buckhead neighborhood on Jan. 7 and passed the bank employee a withdrawal slip. The slip included a note written on the back asking the teller to "be discreet when handing him the cash," according to a police report. Coogler also handed over his California state identification card and his Bank of America account card.

Coogler was trying to withdraw more than $10,000, and the bank employee "received an alert notification" from the account and quickly alerted her manager that she thought he was trying to rob the bank, the report says.

The bank employee is a Black woman, the police report says.

Police responding to the bank branch spotted a black Lexus SUV parked out front with the engine running. An officer talked to the male driver and a female passenger, who said they were waiting for Coogler.

According to the police report, the description of Coogler given by the driver matched the description of the man who police thought was trying to rob the bank. The officer detained both the driver and passenger in the back of a police vehicle, but they were not placed in handcuffs.

Two other officers went inside the bank and led Coogler out in handcuffs.

Police later determined the whole incident was a mistake by the bank employee, and Coogler "was never in the wrong." After realizing the mistake, police removed Coogler's handcuffs, and the other two people were released from the back of the patrol vehicle, the report says.

All three were given an explanation and an apology for the bank employee's mistake, and Coogler requested the names and badge numbers of the officers on the scene, the police report says.

"We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It should never have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler," a statement from Bank of America says.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press. Newsy is the nation’s only free 24/7 national news network. You can find Newsy using your TV’s digital antenna or stream for free. See all the ways you can watch Newsy here: https://bit.ly/Newsy1

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