Video Shows 'Black Panther's Ryan Coogler Detained by Police After Being Mistaken for Bank Robber
By Mekishana Pierre
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Ryan Coogler has spoken out about an incident that resulted in his brief detainment by police in January.
According to a police report obtained by ET, the 35-year-old director stepped into a Bank of America in Atlanta on Jan. 7 wearing a hat, sunglasses and a COVID face mask. He stepped up to the counter and handed the bank teller a withdrawal slip with a note written on the back that reportedly read, "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."
Coogler also had his California state ID card and his Bank of America card when he approached the teller.
When the teller began the transaction, it reportedly triggered an alert notification from Coogler’s bank account, and the teller informed her boss that she suspected it was a robbery attempt. The police were called, and four Atlanta PD officers arrived at the scene, detaining two of Coogler's colleagues, who were waiting for him outside the bank in an SUV. When questioned by the officers, the driver identified Coogler as a movie producer and said he was waiting for Coogler while he was making a transaction inside the bank. The woman who was a passenger in the SUV gave the same information.
The report noted that since the description given of Coogler matched the description of the man reportedly trying to rob the bank, they entered the bank to detain the director.
Coogler was then handcuffed and taken out of the bank by two of the officers.
In a body camera video obtained by ET, Coogler is seen sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car. He explains that he intended to withdraw the money to pay a medical assistant who works for his family. When asked why he wrote on the withdrawal slip instead of speaking with the teller, he answers that he didn't want to draw attention to himself while withdrawing large sums of money, adding that he does this often.
"I'm trying to get money out of my own account," he tells the police in the video. He notes that the teller "never said it was a problem," adding that he had used his bank card and PIN, and had given her his ID.
According to the police report, when the officers spoke with the teller, she explained that she found Coogler's behavior odd because he "wouldn't speak to her or answer any of her questions." He reportedly kept telling her to look at the note, as well as giving her his bank card and ID. She says this is when "her stomach started turning" and she felt something was wrong because Coogler's behavior was "weird."
When the withdrawal was reportedly flagged as a high-risk transaction on the bank's computer system, she called over her manager. The manager reportedly suggested they speak with Coogler about the transaction, but the teller said she would not confront him since she's pregnant and scared for her safety. She then called 911.
Coogler and his colleagues were released from police custody after the officers verified his identity and his Bank of America account.
"This situation should never have happened," Coogler said in a statement to ET. "However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on."
Bank of America shared their regret to ET in a statement, saying, "We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler."