Ryan Coogler, critically acclaimed director of blockbusters including Black Panther and Creed, was falsely accused of robbing a Bank of America and briefly handcuffed before local police officers realized their error, later admitting that Coogler was “never in the wrong.”
“This situation should never have happened,” Coogler said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. “However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.”
According to an Atlanta police report obtained by THR, the incident occurred on January 7 at an Atlanta branch of Bank of America. Coogler and two others who were parked outside the bank in a running car were briefly detained by officers called to the scene. The call reportedly happened after Coogler gave a female bank teller a withdrawal slip that had a note written on the back of it asking that the teller “be discreet” when handing over his cash. Per Variety, Coogler’s note read as follows: “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 reportedly had a California I.D. and a Bank of America account card in hand when he made the request.
The bank teller then received an alert notification from Coogler’s bank account, according to the police report. She proceeded to tell her manager that Coogler was attempting to rob the bank, and they called 911. Four Atlanta police officers arrived on the scene and apprehended Coogler’s two associates—an unidentified man and woman—who were sitting in a black Lexus SUV outside of the bank. Per the police report, the man and woman told the police officers that they were waiting for Coogler, “who is making a money transaction inside of the bank and he is a movie producer.” When police asked the duo to identify Coogler, their description “matched the description of the male suspect that is attempting to rob the Bank of America,” the police report says. The officers reportedly placed both car passengers in the back of a City of Atlanta–marked patrol vehicle, sans handcuffs.
The situation devolved even further. According to the police report, Coogler was eventually taken out of the bank in handcuffs by two officers. After verifying Coogler’s identity and his Bank of America account, the police determined that Coogler had been falsely accused of trying to rob the bank and that his associates, referred to as suspects one and two, had been mistakenly apprehended.
“It was determined later by Sgt. Fernandez 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 and that suspects # 1 and # 2 was [sic] taken out from the rear of the patrol vehicle,” the police report reads. “Mr. Coogler, as well as suspect # 1 and # 2, was [sic] given an explanation of the incident as well as an apology for the mistake by the Bank of America. Mr. Coogler requested the name as well as the badge number for all the officers on scene,” the report adds.
Coogler has been filming Marvel’s highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in Atlanta. Bank of America later issued an apology for the incident, obtained by THR: “We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler.”