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'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler Falsely Detained by Police After Being Mistaken for Bank Robber

The director was walked out of the bank in handcuffs after being falsely identified.

Ryan Coogler has spoken out about an incident in January that that led to him briefly being detained by police.


The incident happened in Atlanta, where the Black Panther director has been filming the sequel since the summer. He was attempting to make a withdrawal from his account wearing a hat, sunglasses, and a standard COVID-19 face mask when he was detained. He reportedly handed a teller a slip that 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."

Despite having his ID and bank card, the transaction was flagged and the teller called over her manager. She informed her boss that she believed it was an attempted robbery, and when he recommended speaking to Coogler about it, the teller refused out of "fear for her safety" as a pregnant woman. She described Coogler's behavior as "weird" and that "her stomach was turning" from it.

Instead, the police were called and handcuffed Coogler, removing him from the bank. They also detained two of his associates who were waiting in his car, and who had informed police that Coogler is a movie producer.

Body camera footage shows Coogler handcuffed in the back of the police car as he explained that his "suspicious behavior" was simply him trying to not draw attention to himself, and that he "does this all the time." He told the officers,

"I'm trying to get money out of my own account. [The teller] never said it was a problem."

After his identity and account were verified, Coogler and his colleagues were released. Police claim he was only detained because he matched the description of a bank robber they were searching for.

When he finally spoke on the situation, Coogler did not mention racially motivated aspects from the incident, instead simply stating,

"This situation should never have happened. However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on."

He did not reveal what actions they took to address it, but Bank of America also issued a statement of apology that said,

"We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler."

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