Police-bodycam video shows the moment Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was mistaken for a bank robber and briefly arrested at a Georgia bank two months ago.
Footage shows Atlanta police officers cautiously approaching Coogler, 35, who was quietly standing at the counter, having passed a female teller a handwritten note asking her to discreetly withdraw the cash from his account.
‘Woah, woah woah,’ he said, clearly taken aback on realizing he was being apprehended, as an officer orders him to put his hands behind his back.
‘You got it, you got it,’ he said. ‘Is that really how you’re doing this, bro? I’m trying to pull money out of my own account.’
Police escorted the award-winning director out of the main lobby, patted him down, took him outside for further questioning and placed him into a cop car.
Police-worn bodycamera video shows the moment Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was mistaken for a bank robber and briefly arrested at a Georgia bank two months ago
Footage shows Atlanta police officers cautiously approaching Coogler who was quietly standing at the counter
Meantime, officers questioned the unnamed female teller who assisted Coogler. She told police she had been startled by the interaction, which is why she called 911.
‘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,”‘ she told responding officers. ‘My manger 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.”‘
‘It just startled me,’ she added.
When police questioned if she had verified the requested funds available in the account, she said: ‘He had the amount in his account, but still he wasn’t trying to talk to me, he just kept saying “look at the note” and working in a bank if anybody hands you a note…’
The officer interrupted her, asking if she confirmed the name on his I.D. matched that of the account holder.
She replied: ‘I didn’t look because I was startled. I just know he had a California I.D.’
Officers questioned the pregnant teller who assisted Coogler. She told police she had been startled by the interaction, which is why she called 911
Police escorted the award-winning director out of the main lobby, patted him down, took him outside for further questioning and placed him into a cop car
The teller told police Coogler had walked into the establishment as any other customer would, but alleged his behavior was unsettling.
‘He came in and I said, “hey, how can I help you today?” He came up to the line, handed me this note and he said “look at the note,”‘ she recalled, noting that he inserted his debit card into the card reader.
‘I asked which account,’ she said. ‘He just kept pointing. “Look at the note.”‘
‘So I’m like, “okay.” And I said, “do you have your I.D.?” He did give me his I.D. It was a California I.D. But my stomach started turning. It seems odd because you’re making a withdrawal but you hand me a note on the back of a deposit slip and keep telling me “look at the note” but you don’t want to talk to me.’
She added: ‘It’s just weird’
The teller told police the computer prompted her with a message that read ‘high-risk transaction,’ which prompted her to seek out her manager.
Although her manager encouraged them to speak directly to Coogler, she said she was fearful and decided to call for help.
‘I called 911 and then I guess he called 911 too,’ the expectant mother said. ‘He was waiting here the whole time until you guys came.’
‘You got it, you got it,’ Coogler asked the officers. ‘Is that really how you’re doing this, bro? I’m trying to pull money out of my own account’
Coogler told police he was with drawing the large sum to pay a home healthcare worker that ‘prefers to be paid in cash’
He claims he regularly uses the note method to withdrawal large sums because he doesn’t want to be targeted by other bank customers
Coogler told police he was with drawing the large sum to pay a home healthcare worker that ‘prefers to be paid in cash’.
‘Every time I make a withdraw to pay her, because it’s a large amount, if I don’t write down how much I want out and that I don’t want it run through the money counter right there at the desk the whole bank ends up looking at me because they hear money going through the count,’ he explained.
‘I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel safe getting my out like that, sir.’
The director claims he has used the note method many times before and ‘always just gets the money from it.’
‘I stated to officers that arrested me – they had their Glocks (weapons) out – that I was pulling money out of my own account,’ Coogler shared, noting how he was confused by the entire encounter.
The cop replied: ‘I understand. We have to confirm that. Because of the seriousness of the call we don’t just come out and unfortunately in a situation like that you don’t get the benefit of the doubt. We detain then we ask questions later.’
Banks have thresholds for withdrawals that trigger warnings to managers, typically withdrawals over $10,000. Tellers are also trained to seek help when they are in situations that appear to be a robbery.
Once police realized the incident with Coogler was a misunderstanding, they let him go.
He told Good Morning America in a statement issued Thursday that ‘Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.’
No further details have been shared, and it is unclear if the teller who called police remains in her job.
Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is shown in January in a Bank of America in Atlanta passing a note to the teller asking for $12,000 ‘in cash’. He was arrested after she called police
This is the note Coogler passed to the teller. It reads: ‘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 is shown walking into the Bank of America wearing a hat, glasses and a mask
Coogler walked into the bank wearing a green hoodie, black beanie, sunglasses and a face mask.
He passed the cashier a note asking to ‘discreetly’ withdraw funds from his account. It 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 note spooked the cashier, who called police claiming Coogler was a bank robber.
Police arrived and detained two people who were waiting for him in an SUV parked outside.
Coogler was furious about the mistake and demanded the badge numbers of the cops involved, according to the report.
He lives in California. Coogler told Variety Wednesday morning: ‘This situation should never have happened.
‘However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.’
A Bank of America spokesman told DailyMail.com: ‘We deeply regret that this incident occurred.
‘It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler.’
Despite authorities determining the incident was a misunderstanding, the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP told CBS 46 they believe Coogler was racially profiled.
‘The presumption is always that they’ve done something wrong, he’s here to rob us,’ Richard Rose, president of the Atlanta NAACP Branch, told the TV station. ‘He can’t be here to withdraw money that’s his.’
The activist also commented on the response of the teller, who was black and pregnant.
‘The first reaction to oppression is resistance, secondly is acknowledgement, third is acceptance. When black people have accepted that white’s should be superior and that black folks are doing something wrong all the time, and she succumbed to the same thing,’ he said.
The incident occurred on January 7 at the Bank of America on W. Paces Ferry Road in Atlanta. However, it was just revealed by TMZ on Wednesday morning
The movie director has been in Atlanta for the last several months filming the sequel to Black Panther, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
The production has been besieged by cast injuries and vaccine rows.
Letitia Wright, who will reprise her role as Shuri, was severely injured while filming in August last year in Boston.
It is unclear what exactly happened, but the actress suffered a concussion and fractured shoulder while performing a stunt on-set.
In a note to the cast and crew in November last year, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito and Nate Moore of Marvel Studios called it a ‘frightening’ accident.
The sequel is due to be released on November 11, 2022. It will no doubt be a box office hit, following on from the record-breaking success of the first movie.
Fans are eager to see how the story will playout in the absence of Chadwick Boseman, the franchise’s beloved central star who died from cancer in August 2020.