“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler went to the bank to withdraw $12,000 from his account. Before he knew it, he was in handcuffs and accused of bank robbery.
Coogler wound up being detained by police in Atlanta on Jan. 7 after he was mistaken for a bank robber at a Bank of America, according to a police report filed March 9.
“This situation should never have happened,” Coogler told Variety. “However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction, and we have moved on.”
When Coogler, 35, went to the bank, he 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.”
Because of the note and the amount being more than $10,000, the teller thought it was an attempted robbery and informed her boss. Together they called the police. When four Atlanta Police Department officers arrived, they detained Coogler and two of his colleagues, who were waiting for him outside the bank in a car with the engine running.
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Under the Bank Secrecy Act, when there is a cash transaction of $10,000 or more, financial institutions must record the transaction and report suspicious activity that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other criminal activities. After verifying Coogler’s identity and his Bank of America account, the officers released him and his colleagues.
“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 to CNN.
Coogler has been in Atlanta, Georgia, filming the sequel to the superhero blockbuster, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The film is set for release in November.
“This Ryan Coogler bank situation has me spooked because the bank teller literally could have caused this man’s death,” tweeted THEKORTURN, ESQ. “Her and her manager also put everyone’s life in danger when they relied on police before verifying whether or not he was a BOA customer.”
Photo: Director and screenwriter Ryan Coogler accepts the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic for “Fruitvale” during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony on Jan. 26, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)