“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler, one of the most promising directors working in Hollywood today, was detained by police in Atlanta back in January after he was mistaken for a bank robber at a Bank of America.
The director confirmed the incident to Variety, “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.”
According to TMZ, which first reported the news based on a police report, Coogler was detained after he went to Bank of America to make a transaction. The 35-year-old director — who was wearing a hat, sunglasses and a COVID face mask — went to the counter and handed the teller a withdrawal slip with a note written on the back that reportedly 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.”
The teller, however, misinterpreted the situation as an attempted robbery when the amount of the transaction triggered an alarm on the banking system. The teller then informed her boss and together they called the police. As per TMZ, a police report describes the teller as a pregnant Black woman; however, Variety has not yet verified this information with Atlanta police or Bank of America.
Authorities arriving at the scene reportedly detained two people in an SUV who were waiting for Coogler outside the bank, and also handcuffed the director.
Variety has reached out to Atlanta police and Bank of America for a statement on the incident.
Coogler has been filming the sequel to the superhero tentpole, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” in Atlanta. The film is set for release in November.