Ryan Coogler detained in bank robbery mix-up that ‘should never have happened’

A man with a beard
Director Ryan Coogler said an incident he was involved in at an Atlanta bank last month “should never have happened.”
(Phil Mccarten / Invision/Associated Press)

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ryan Coogler, the creative mind behind “Creed” and Marvel’s “Black Panther,” says he has moved on from a January run-in with authorities that “should never have happened.”

The 35-year-old director was detained in Atlanta on Jan. 7 when a Bank of America employee thought he was attempting to rob the bank, according to an Atlanta Police Dept. report obtained Wednesday by The Times.

The “Fruitvale Station” director, who is in Georgia to film the highly anticipated “Black Panther” sequel, “Wakanda Forever,” was detained at the bank after trying to make a transaction of more than $10,000, the report said.


Coogler had apparently written a note on the back of his withdrawal slip asking the bank teller to be discreet. The bank employee — who is described in the report as a pregnant Black female — then received an alert notification from Coogler’s account, consulted her manager and called 911.

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TMZ obtained a photo of Coogler at the bank and reported that he had arrived wearing sunglasses and a COVID-19 mask. The site also posted a photo of the note he allegedly gave the teller, which said: “I would like to withdraw $12,000 cash from my checking account. Please do the money counter somewhere else. I’d like to be discreet.”

(A spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Dept. said the department did not release those photos.)

When officers arrived, they questioned and detained another man driving the film producer’s SUV and a woman who was a passenger. The SUV was parked in front of the bank and had its engine running, the police report said.

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It also said that a sergeant who responded to the call determined “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[s].”

The man and woman in Coogler’s car were also released, and the three of them were “given an explanation of the incident as well as an apology for the mistake by the Bank Of America,” the report said. Coogler also requested the names as well as the badge numbers for all the officers on the scene.

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