Mistaken identity is something that tends to happen from time to time but when you’re a famous movie director you’re probably not expecting to be mistaken for a criminal. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler found himself in a very bizarre situation earlier this year when he was detained by police in Atlanta after being mistaken for a bank robber. While Coogler says the incident has been addressed to his satisfaction, he also says it never should have happened in the first place.
Ryan Coogler confirmed reports of the incident to Variety, which took place in January of this year in Atlanta, where Coogler was busy directing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In the statement Coogler simply says that the Bank of America worked with him to resolve the issue and that everybody involved has moved on.
According to the reports, Ryan Coogler entered the Bank of America in Atlanta where he handed the teller a note asking to withdraw $12,000 from his account. It also asked that the money be counted elsewhere in order to avoid drawing attention. Coogler himself had his face mostly covered as he was wearing a mask, due to the pandemic, along with a hat and sunglasses.
It seems this request was misinterpreted by the teller who believed Coogler was attempting to rob the bank. The amount of the transaction triggered an alarm which informed the bank manager and the police were called. When they arrived two people who were waiting in a car for the Creed director were detained and Ryan Coogler himself was handcuffed before the situation became clear.
The production of the Black Panther sequel has dealt with an absolutely insane number of hurdles on the production side from injuries to covid delays. While not directly related to the film, this is just another incident to add to the list. Bank of America has issued a statement of apology to Ryan Coogler over the situation. The Atlanta police have yet to make any public comments on what happened.
I’m sure an actual bank robbery is the worst fear a bank teller could possibly have, so it might be understandable that they’re a bit jumpy when they’re handed a note asking for money, but it sounds like the note itself was quite clear that Coogler was making a withdrawal from his own account. It’s perfectly understandable that anybody withdrawing $12,000 in cash would want to be discreet and avoid attracting attention, that’s a lot of money.
While the actual situation was surely complex and frustrating when it happened, Ryan Coogler says he’s moved on and he likely would have never discussed this issue publicly if it hadn’t come out through another source. If anything this seems to be a lesson in not jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about a situation. While we now know about this because the person in question was a famous movie director, handcuffing an innocent person should be no less upsetting if it’s somebody whose name we don’t know.
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