Black Panther director mistaken for bank robber in Atlanta, US

Black Panther director mistaken for bank robber in Atlanta, US

Movie director Ryan Coogler was briefly handcuffed by the police after trying to withdraw more than $10,000 from a bank.
11 Mar, 2022

Movie director Ryan Coogler was briefly handcuffed by Atlanta police after he was mistaken for a robber when he passed a teller a note while trying to withdraw a large amount of cash from his account, police said.

The Black Panther director, who is Black, walked into a Bank of America branch, January 7 and passed the teller a withdrawal slip with a note written on the back asking her to “be discreet when handing him the cash,” according to a police report.

He was trying to withdraw more than $10,000, and the teller “received an alert notification” on her computer and quickly alerted her manager that Coogler was trying to rob the bank, the report says. The bank employee is a Black woman, the report says.

Police responding to the bank branch in the upscale Buckhead neighbourhood saw a black Lexus SUV parked out front with the engine running. An officer talked to the male driver who said he was waiting for Coogler, who was inside the bank. A female passenger gave police the same information.

A description of Coogler given by the driver matched the description of the man reported to have been trying to rob the bank, the report says. 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 had gone inside the bank and led Coogler out in handcuffs.

Body camera video released by police shows officers approaching Coogler from behind as he stands at the counter wearing a light grey hooded sweatshirt, a black cap, sunglasses and a white mask. As an officer pulls his gun and another tells him to put his hands behind his back, Coogler says, “Whoa, whoa, what’s going on?”

As he’s led from the bank, Coogler tells them he’s just trying to pull money out of his own account.

Police determined the whole thing was a mistake by the teller and Coogler “was never in the wrong,” the report says The handcuffs were immediately removed and the other two people were released from the back of the patrol vehicle.

Police can be seen on body camera video explaining to Coogler that they were responding to a call of a bank robbery and had to take appropriate precautions. Still sitting in the back of the police SUV, Coogler is seen on video looking down and shaking his head as the officer explains.

Coogler explained to the officers that a medical assistant who works for him prefers to be paid in cash. When he withdraws a large sum to pay her, he said, he passes the teller a note because he doesn’t want the cash run through a money counter right there because it attracts attention and makes him feel unsafe.

“I don’t know who made what call, who did what, but I just had guns drawn on me for taking money out of my own account,” Coogler told police.

The teller never indicated there was a problem and when she went to talk to her manager, other bank employees kept asking if he was being taken care of, he told officers. The next thing he knew, he heard guns being pulled from their holsters.

Another body camera video shows the teller explaining that Coogler gave her the withdrawal slip and after he inserted his debit card and asked to make a withdrawal, he pointed at the note instead of answering her questions. When she asked for his ID and he gave her a California ID, she said the transaction seemed odd and her “stomach started turning.”

When her computer notified her that it was a high-risk transaction, she went to speak to her manager. When she explained Coogler wanted $12,000 and the transaction made her feel uncomfortable, her manager suggested going to talk to him, she told officers. But she refused because she was pregnant and did not know if he had a gun, she said. She called 911.

“This situation should never have happened,” Coogler said in a statement to The New York Times, but he added that Bank of America “worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.”

A representative for Coogler did not respond to messages from The Associated Press.

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

Released in 2018, the Marvel superhero film Black Panther became the year’s biggest film release, earning more than a billion dollars worldwide and inspiring “Wakanda Forever” salutes everywhere. The film was nominated for best picture; Coogler shared in the honour as one of the film’s producers. Work on the sequel has been happening in Georgia. The film is scheduled for release in November 2022.

While the director is best known for Black Panther, he also co-wrote the Rocky spin-off Creed. His breakout movie was writing and directing Fruitvale Station, about the last day of Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by police in the Bay Area in 2009.


Anonymouseee Mar 11, 2022 10:55am
Well he certainly did everything that a bank robber would do. Why are people such fools.
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Khan Mar 11, 2022 11:48am
@Anonymouseee Nooooo Dude, his only mistake was being black. And that's it.
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HashBrown® Mar 11, 2022 12:35pm
Sounds as though he was 90% to blame for the misunderstanding.
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Changez Khan Mar 11, 2022 12:48pm
To avoid arrests the black people should start wearing the 'white' masks.
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zebswati Mar 11, 2022 01:01pm
Bad Luck , ! Drawing cash ! wearing a mask and glasses causal night dress doing nervously , ! for a young women sitting in car out side !! She preferred Hot cash ! $ 10,000 for therapy session! , You want no body to notice, no body to ever know !than a bad day boy !, Happened in Jan, better to keep quite till today.
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Naeem Mar 11, 2022 02:20pm
Wouldn't have happened if he was white. This is the sad reality of today's America. Bank teller should have been fired.
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HashBrown® Mar 11, 2022 02:44pm
@Khan "Nooooo Dude, his only mistake was being black. And that's it." The bank clerk who reported him was black also. Truth be told, whether black or white, Americans are just addicted to a victim culture, that's all it is.
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Irfan Huq Mar 11, 2022 05:24pm
@HashBrown® And the policeman was also black.
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Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Mar 11, 2022 05:39pm
Unfortunately, because of the bigot, biased, wicked, liar, crooked, cruel, cunning, crafty, crazy and corrupt Trump and his xenophobic, prejudiced and intolerant supporters, voters, backers, financers and admirers, discrimination based on racial, ethnic, color, gender, creed, class, age, ethnicity and national origin basis has moved up on the graph in the so-called world's oldest and biggest democracy called the United States of America.
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Tarik Mar 11, 2022 06:59pm
He is guilty due to color of his skin no matter who he is in US & Europe. So Sad!
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Tarik Mar 11, 2022 07:01pm
Aren’t the Humans one community regardless the color of their skin?
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nk Mar 11, 2022 08:32pm
That mask, the note and then he is an Afro American played into this. Though this was a regretful mistake this is the police we want in our country. Camera mounted policemen with swift, no nonsense action.
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LOL Mar 12, 2022 06:11pm
@Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad , agree with you, you should escape from that bad situation asap.
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LOL Mar 12, 2022 06:13pm
The bank teller wasn't following rules, she could have asked for another ID and also follow manager's directives.
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kp Mar 12, 2022 10:14pm
@Khan Teller was black, Manager was Black, Police officer was colored and you think its racial?
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Tadka Mar 13, 2022 10:38am
Guess the clerk over reacted despite being advised otherwise by her boss . The clerk , the police officer and the victim were all black so a blame game could get averted
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