In January, award-winning Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was wrongly mistaken for a bank robber and arrested at Bank of America in Atlanta.
Reports said the 35-year-old was handcuffed and briefly detained when he went to the bank to withdraw some money. Somehow, its employees thought he was robbing the bank because he allegedly handed the teller his withdrawal slip with a small handwritten note on the back. He reportedly strolled in with sunglasses and a COVID-19 face mask on and proceeded to do his transaction, which, unfortunately, went left.
“I would like to withdraw $12,000 cash from my checking account. Please do the money count somewhere else. I’d like to be discreet,” the note allegedly said.
However, the teller misinterpreted what he had written. According to a report by the Atlanta Police Department, she made the transaction on her computer and told her boss that Coogler was trying to rob the bank, so they called 911.
“I told my manager I don’t feel comfortable about this transaction. I said, ‘he handed me a note and just told me to look at the note, and he wants $12,000,'” she reportedly told officers. “My manager says, ‘let’s go around and talk to him.’ I said, ‘no, I’m pregnant. I don’t know if he got a gun or whatever.'”
When cops arrived, they arrested the movie director and two other people waiting outside for him in an SUV.
Body camera footage revealed his reaction to being handcuffed at the bank, which appeared to be a mix of shock and disappointment.
“Woah, Woah, Woah,” he said in response to being put in handcuffs. “You got it. You got it. Is that really how you’re doing this, bro? I’m trying to pull money out of my own account.”
Cops then escorted him out of the lobby, questioned him outside, and brought him to the local police station.
After an investigation, they determined that everything was a huge mistake and Coogler was innocent. He told them that he was withdrawing a large sum of money to pay a home healthcare worker that would prefer to be paid in cash.
The bank teller, identified as an unnamed Black woman, was blamed for what happened.
He later released a statement, saying, “Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction, and we have moved on.”
Bank of America also released a statement apologizing to the director.
“We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened, and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler,” they said.
Coogler was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2018. Lately, he has been busy working on Black Panther‘s sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.