“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler was accidentally arrested by Atlanta police officers, when a teller believed he was trying to rob a Bank of America.
Coogler, 35, entered the Bank of America branch in a hat, sunglasses, and face mask on Jan. 7, and reportedly tried to subtly withdraw a large sum of cash by writing a note to a bank teller.
“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,” his handwritten note said.
According to a police report, the bank teller received an alert notification because the withdrawal exceeded $10,000, and “quickly advised her manager that [Coogler] is attempting to rob the bank. 911 was alerted and responded.”
Police body cam footage revealed Coogler was shocked that he was being placed under arrest and handcuffed. “You got it, you got it,” he told the officer. “Is that really how you’re doing this, bro? I’m trying to pull money out of my own account.”
He was escorted out, frisked, and placed in the back of a police car, while officers questioned the bank teller, who claimed she was “startled” by the request.
“I told my manager I don’t feel comfortable about this transaction. I said, ‘he handed me a note and just told me to look at the note and he wants $12,000,’”’ the woman reported. “My manager says ‘let’s go around and talk to him.’ I said ‘no, I’m pregnant. I don’t know if he got a gun or whatever.’”
Despite Coogler having the funds available in his account, she claimed that he wouldn’t speak to her about his request. “He just kept saying “look at the note” and working in a bank if anybody hands you a note…” She detailed.
The “Creed” director explained that he was taking out the money to pay his home healthcare worker, who “prefers to be paid in cash,” and requested the funds with a note because he didn’t feel safe that anyone in the bank could see how much money he would be leaving with.
When police verified his identity, Coogler was released from custody. “This situation should never have happened,” he said. “However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.”
“We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened, and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler,” Bank of America said in a statement.