'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler Handcuffed by Police After Being Mistaken for Bank Robber

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was mistaken for a bank robber and handcuffed by police in Atlanta before anyone realized who he was. The incident happened at a Bank of America location on Jan. 7 but was not reported on until Wednesday when TMZ obtained the police report. Coogler, who also directed the Rocky sequel Creed, said the situation "should never have happened."

Coogler, 35, went to the bank to withdraw cash. He gave the teller a withdrawal slip with a note reading, "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 thought the letter was suspicious and called the police to report an attempted robbery.

When the officers arrived, they detained the two people who arrived at the bank with Coogler. They then entered the bank and took Coogler away in handcuffs. After an investigation, police admitted it was a big mistake. Police put the fault for the incident on the teller, who was described as a pregnant Black woman. According to police, the withdrawal triggered an alert, so the teller told her boss there was a robbery attempt. They then called 911.

After police told Coogler he was being released, the filmmaker asked for the badge numbers of everyone involved in his arrest. On Wednesday morning, he told TMZ he moved on from the incident. "This situation should never have happened. However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on," he said.

"We deeply regret that this incident occurred," a Bank of America spokesperson told Variety. "It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler."

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Coogler is in Georgia to direct Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is scheduled for a November release. This is his fourth movie, following Fruitvale Station (2013), Creed (2015), and Black Panther (2018). Coogler was also a producer on Judas and the Black Messiah, Space Jam: A New Legacy, and Creed II.

This is the latest incident during the Black Panther 2 production. In August, star Letitia Wright suffered minor injuries while filming a stunt in Boston. Wright went back to London to recuperate, and filming was put on hold in November. In January, production resumed a week later than planned after some members of the cast and crew, including Lupita Nyong'o, tested positive for COVID-19. The movie is still set to open on Nov. 11.