Black Panther director Ryan Coogler mistaken for bank robber

By Alexandra Heilbron on March 9, 2022 | 18 Comments


Ryan Coogler on the set of Fruitvale StationA bank teller called 911 after Black Panther director Ryan Coogler walked into a Bank of America in Atlanta and passed her a handwritten note. He was wearing a green hoodie, a black knit cap, sunglasses and a white mask.

According to TMZ, the note 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 police report read: “The bank teller then received an alert notification from Mr. Coogler’s account and quickly advised her manager that suspect # 3 (Coogler) is attempting to rob the bank. 911 was alerted and responded.”

Coogler had two friends who were waiting in a car in front of the bank with its engine running. When the police approached them, they said they were waiting for their friend, “who is making a money transaction inside of the bank and he is a movie producer.” When they gave a description of Coogler and it “matched the description of the male suspect that is attempting to rob the Bank of America,” they were asked to get out of the car, and were placed in the back of a police car.

Coogler soon exited the bank in handcuffs, escorted by two policemen. The police report went on to say, “It was determined later by Sgt. Fernandez that the incident is a mistake by Bank of America and that Mr. Coogler was never in the wrong and was immediately taken out of handcuff and that suspects # 1 and # 2 was [sic] taken out from the rear of the patrol vehicle.”

A Bank of America spokesperson later said in a statement, “We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler.”

Coogler replied in a statement, saying, “This situation should never have happened. However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.”

Coogler is currently in Atlanta filming the sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which will be released in theaters this November.  ~Alexandra Heilbron



Comments & Discussion

  1. Carol Jollymore • March 10, 2022 @ 10:15 AM

    Another example of racial profiling, shame on them!

  2. TaiA • March 10, 2022 @ 11:18 AM

    I feel like there’s some information missing to this story. Coogler could have easily spoken to the bank teller, instead of handing her a sketchy note. She wouldn’t have recognized him with his mask on anyway, and explained about the large withdrawal and need for privacy.

    I had a similar situation where I was opening a joint account with my twin sister. When we verbally explained why (we were going to a university in another city and it was easier for my mom to send us money that way). The teller looked up my mom’s info and then found that my dad happened to bank with them too. He had a lot of $$$ in that account. Guess what the bank did, they referred us to an account manager and sat us both in a private office and offered us tea!

    Cooler set himself up with this nonsense big time! All that cloak and dagger weirdness wasn’t necessary.

  3. Terry • March 10, 2022 @ 11:34 AM

    OH Carol Jollymore — get off the racial profiling BS — I am so D*MN SICK of everything that involves or happens to a black person slotted & categorized as racist.
    If a white person had done everything the way this nimrod did it — the very same result would have happened.
    GET A LIFE.

  4. J. • March 10, 2022 @ 11:39 AM

    “He was wearing a green hoodie, a black knit cap, sunglasses and a white mask.” Is this a joke? Why would he give a written note and not speak directly to the teller? This just doesn’t compute. Was he deliberately trying to provoke the teller?

  5. CDubya • March 10, 2022 @ 12:31 PM

    Seriously, a get-a-way car running outside, a hoodie, a mask (even if it’s mandatory) and handing over a note is ridiculous, if it was a white person (who should try this in another city ASAP to see if it happens to them….as a social experiment), would be arrested too. There are a ton of bank robberies, the teller should have been on high alert when they got the note! No note, I bet this wouldn’t have happened as the person was maybe trying to conceal their identity, but a note compounds that my attempting to conceal their voice as another identifier. No way is this a racial thing or racial profiling. It was a diligent teller!!!!

  6. mike • March 10, 2022 @ 1:21 PM

    whatever the case why the f——k would you walk in tehe bank with a mask and a hoody and whatever why cant people just act normal without rising suspicicion its like they do it on purpose too see whats going to happen if I do such a thing or maybe just putting the authorities at test to see how they will react you know just stop be normal and real and stop you know f………… ing around all the time another words grow up CHRIST

  7. mike • March 10, 2022 @ 1:30 PM

    attention man attention otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it have to do something to get attention very nicely done old trick though WOW to all other celebrities out there see that’s the way to do it although you already know that nothing new

  8. Rene L Jansen • March 10, 2022 @ 1:42 PM

    He should not have dressed the way he did. He also should have used the bank with drawl slip (the article said piece of paper).
    If it was on purpose to get publicity, he got it. The clerrk did the right thing.

  9. Lovely • March 10, 2022 @ 1:50 PM

    1. racial profiling happens a lot and more frequently than many would imagine especially if you are not of that race and it does not happen to you
    2. if you’re tired of hearing about it just imaging how tired people are going through it
    3. life is more nuanced than what we usually read or see in the news – we should know that as we live it
    4. he seemed to want to ensure he was not recognized and had any attention on him especially with such a large amount of $$ on his person – might have gone over board concealing his identity especially in a bank…didn’t think that through
    5. seeing an account manager would have been the smooth move but it appears that he was trying to expedite the process (friends waiting in the running car)
    6. this was a clusterf and surely an embarrassment to all involved. thankful that all parties seemed to have grace.

  10. Tom McCartney • March 10, 2022 @ 3:34 PM

    The bank would have needed a phone call first, to have that amount of money ready for him. He did all this on purpose. I would like to know what the bank did to satisfy his predicament.

  11. Daniel McCarthy • March 10, 2022 @ 9:35 PM

    @Lovely thanks for your post only you actually make sense as a blond blue eyed male I have seen first hand how different I get treated than my the POC who are my friends. I thought thiis was all BS till I saw the stark difference with my own eyes, @TaiA @CDubya @J you people have no idea just try that exact experiment as a white person and see how different the out come would be. The cops would come and ask for an explanation and hear you out intead of putting you and your friends in handcuffs even after they TOLD the cops he was a famous director and they di nothing suspicious like running, not answering or being rude to the cops (we say just comply to black people yet this happens).

    @Rene L Jansen it WAS a withdrawal slip he used! It had his name and account number (why would a bank robber do that) and he wrote in the space provide below on the slip to please count the large amount of cash not at the window but some other secured location because he wanted to be discrete. So how on earth is that the move of a bank robber?? You people here so want to believe its anything but a different standard of treatment for us vs POC that u looking for the biggest stretch!! Bank of America recognized it acted wrongly so why wont u people also acknowledge that? The cops should have acknowledged they acted wrongly too especially after Mr. Coogler expressly said that while he should not have been treated that ways, he had moved on and there was no hard feelings (class act if you ask me). And it’s not for attention, this happened since in January. TMZ found out and broke the story (like these scum always do), so Coogler was forced to comment. HE never said a word about this!!

  12. Clayton Harding • March 11, 2022 @ 1:33 PM

    Let’s start off with the most obvious problem here. He gave them his ID & account number! Was there $12,000 in that account? Did the ID match? End of story–give him his money. You can’t take that much from an ATM, right? And why would a bank robber only ask for $12,000? Why risk jail for that small amount? Also, what if he had given them a check made out to himself; would that have been any different/better? It’s a large amount, sure, so if you want to ask for a 2nd piece of ID, fine. If you want to ask for his phone number, to see if it matches the one on file, & then call it to see if he picks up, I get it. But to call 911?! No one’s life was in danger. He wasn’t asking for money from someone ELSE’s account. Either you believe he is the account owner or not. Turn him down if you don’t believe him. Tell him you need more proof of who he is. But calling the cops is a total “Karen move” that would never have happened to a White Guy, period.

  13. Shamus • March 11, 2022 @ 2:20 PM

    Having experienced profiling I have to say this guy in part brought it on himself. Has he ever directed a film where a perceived robber with a hoodie passed a note. Dont forget the system flagged this may be a robber. How many times have directors tried to play on your preconceived notions. Hmm seems like a stunt by someone who should be an extremely intelligent man. I think he owes boa and the cops apology for not being sensitive to their need for safety. Use a little common sense. Bless all our fellow humans and lets try to constructively make our points. Reminds me of the boy who cried wolf. Maybe not? Ugh. We can work it out less drama folks.

  14. Pat prager • March 11, 2022 @ 3:01 PM

    Sounds like another Juicy Smolay incident to me.

  15. rick meade • March 11, 2022 @ 5:43 PM

    another black man held by the police put under deric chevens desiples

  16. Genny • March 12, 2022 @ 12:24 AM

    Why not someone just do exactly the same thing, same way, he did to see the outcome?

  17. David • March 13, 2022 @ 6:34 AM

    some guy dressed as a gang member passing a note to a teller sounds like a bank robbery in progress to me.

    At least the police didn’t shoot first or kneel on his neck, or hit him with their car.

  18. Common Sense • March 13, 2022 @ 9:07 AM

    >>A bank teller called 911 after a local developer, Joe Smith, walked into a Bank of America in Atlanta and passed her a handwritten note. He was wearing a green hoodie, a black knit cap, sunglasses and a white mask.
    According to TMZ, the note read, “I would like to withdraw $12,000 cash from my checking account. Please do the money count somewhere else. Id like to be discreet.”
    The police report read: “The bank teller then received an alert notification from Mr. Smiths account and quickly advised her manager that suspect # 3 (Smith) is attempting to rob the bank. 911 was alerted and responded.”
    Smith had two friends who were waiting in a car in front of the bank with its engine running.<< Replace Coogler with Smith and the scene he made is just as asinine. Im sorry for anyone who reads this and doesnt conclude Coogler was setting up the bank to fail. His outfit and demeanor were suspicious and with a couple of guys in a getaway car running outside on top of it? Please.


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