‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler mistaken for a bank robber
Bank of America has apologized to manager Ryan Coogler after he was assumed to be a bank robber and briefly handcuffed by police as he attempted to withdraw cash from a branch in Atlanta in January.
Mr. Coogler, best known for directing “Black Panther”, had given a cashier a withdrawal slip on January 7, asking for more than $10,000, with a note on the back asking him to “use discretion in handing over the money”. according to a police report.
Mr. Coogler also had his California state ID card as well as his Bank of America card when he approached the cashier. Mr. Coogler and the cashier are both black.
The cashier “received an alert notification” from Mr. Coogler’s account and quickly informed his manager that he was attempting to rob the bank branch in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, the report said.
The police were called and when they arrived they found an SUV parked in front of the bank.
The driver identified Mr. Coogler as a film producer and said he was waiting for Mr. Coogler while he made a transaction inside the bank. A woman who was a passenger in the SUV gave the same information.
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Officers received a description of Mr. Coogler that matched the description of the man who allegedly attempted to rob the bank, police said.
Officers said they arrested the driver and passenger and placed them in a patrol car. They then removed Mr Coogler from the bank in handcuffs and determined he was not a bank robber, according to the police report.
Police confirmed the episode was the result of a “Bank of America error and that Mr. Coogler was never wrong,” according to the report, which adds that Mr. Coogler immediately got rid of the handcuffs and that the other two were taken out of the patrol car.
All three received “an explanation of the incident as well as an apology for the error from Bank of America,” the report said.
In the body camera video released by police, Mr Coogler was shown sitting in handcuffs in the back of a police cruiser.
He explained that he withdrew money to pay for a medical assistant who works for his family. He said he passed a note asking for a discreet withdrawal because he does not feel safe withdrawing cash to pay it and has to wait for the bills to go through a machine. to count.
“I’m trying to withdraw money from my own account,” he told police in the video. The cashier “never said it was a problem”, Mr Coogler said, adding that he used his bank card and PIN and gave him his ID.
Mr Coogler, who was wearing a cap, sunglasses and a mask, said he was waiting for her to bring her money when he heard the sound of guns being pulled from their holsters outside. arrival of the police.
“She got scared when a black guy handed her a note,” Mr. Coogler said. “I don’t know what else to say.” He added: “If she was scared, she has to admit it.”
In a separate video released by police, the cashier told investigators that Mr Coogler kept pointing at the note and, even though he handed her his ID card, his ‘stomach started to turn’ . On her computer, the withdrawal was flagged as a “high risk transaction”, she said. She said she told her manager, “I don’t feel comfortable with this transaction.”
The manager suggested talking to the customer, but she was worried he had a gun, she said, so she called 911. She added that as a pregnant woman, “I have to protect me. I have to protect my child.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Coogler said: ‘This situation should never have happened.
He added that Bank of America “worked with me and resolved it to my satisfaction and we moved on.”
Bank of America said in a statement, “We deeply regret that this incident has occurred. This should never have happened and we apologized to Mr. Coogler.
In addition to directing ‘Black Panther’ (2018), Mr. Coogler also directed the ‘Rocky’ spin-offs ‘Creed’ (2015) and ‘Fruitvale Station’ (2013), which is about the shooting death of a black man, Oscar Grant III, by a white police officer on a subway platform in Oakland, California in 2009.
In 2019, “Black Panther” became the first Marvel film to earn a Best Picture Oscar nomination. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won in three categories, including Best Original Score and Best Costume Design.