Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler Was Mistaken for a Bank Robber

In January, police detained Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther, after mistaking him for a bank robbery suspect, according to multiple reports.

By Corinne Heller Mar 09, 2022 4:26 PMTags
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Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was briefly detained by police in Atlanta earlier this year after being mistaken for a bank robber, and later received an apology from Bank of America.

The director, who had been in town at the time to film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, told E! News on March 9, "This situation should never have happened. However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on."

On Jan. 7, police were called to one of the company's branches in the city to investigate a suspected holdup, according to a police report obtained by E! News. Upon arrival, they discovered a parked SUV in front with the engine running and a woman and man inside. They told an officer that they were waiting for Coogler, a "movie producer," who was making a money transaction. The cop asked the man for a description of Coogler and police said in the report that it matched the description of the male suspect that was "attempting to rob the Bank of America."

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Cops detained the man and woman in separate patrol cars, while other officers brought Coogler out of the bank in handcuffs, the police report said. After collecting information, another officer then determined that Coogler had passed the teller, a Black woman, a filled out withdrawal slip for an amount possibly valued at over $10,000, with a handwritten note on the back that asked them to "be discreet" when handing him the cash.

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"The bank teller then received an alert notification from Mr. Coogler['s] account and quickly advised her manager that [Coogler] is attempting to rob the bank. 911 was alerted and responded," the police report said, adding, "[It] was determined later by [the officer] that the incident is a mistake by Bank of America and that Mr. Coogler was never in the wrong and was immediately taken out of handcuff[s]." The male and female SUV passengers were also let go, with an explanation of the incident and an apology for the mistake by the Bank of America."

The police report also said that Coogler requested the name and badge numbers of all the officers.

On March 9, Bank of America said in a statement to E! News, "We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler."

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