Black Panther 2 Director Handcuffed By Police In Bank Of America

By Michileen Martin | 2 months ago

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Ryan Coogler is the Oscar-nominated producer of Judas and the Black Messiah. He’s also the co-writer and director of the 7-time nominated and 3-time Oscar winner Black Panther. You can add to that list of already incredible achievements that he was the co-writer and director of 2015’s Creed, the writer/director of 2013’s Fruitvale Station, and is currently working on Black Panther 2, aka Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. And today reports are emerging that in early January, Coogler had handcuffs slapped on his wrists after he was mistaken for a bank robber. The reason? He tried to withdraw money from his own bank account.

As reported by Variety, on January 7 of this year, Ryan Coogler attempted to withdraw $12,000 from a Bank of America account in Atlanta, where much of the filming for Black Panther 2 is taking place. Coogler reportedly filled out a withdrawal slip and wrote on the back, “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 and manager apparently misread the note as a robbery attempt and contacted the police.

The Hollywood Reporter says that upon arriving at the scene, the Atlanta police found Coogler’s friends — one man and one woman — outside the bank in an SUV. They told the police they were waiting for their friend, and informed police he was a movie producer. When the authorities asked them to describe Coogler, the description matched what the police had heard about the bank robbery suspect. They placed Coogler’s friends in the back of a police vehicle, without handcuffs. They entered the bank and briefly placed Coogler in handcuffs. Once the Black Panther 2 director’s identity and account were verified, the handcuffs were removed and Coogler’s friends were released from police custody. A bank representative reportedly apologized to Coogler, and the director accepted the apology. He also requested and recorded the badge numbers and names of all the police officers present.

In a statement to Variety, the Black Panther 2 director said “This situation should never have happened. However, Bank of America worked with me and addressed it to my satisfaction and we have moved on.” For their part, Bank of America released their own statement: “We deeply regret that this incident occurred. It never should have happened and we have apologized to Mr. Coogler.”

In light of the 2020 murder of George Floyd and the controversy over police treatment of Black people, it’s difficult to imagine that this incident won’t garner plenty of attention. Of course the happy ending here is that neither Coogler, his friends, the police, nor anyone else involved came to harm.

It is reminiscent of an incident whose controversy spiraled out of control during the presidency of Barack Obama. Just as Ryan Coogler of Black Panther 2 was doing nothing more criminal than withdrawing money from his own account, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was doing nothing but existing on his own property when he was arrested in 2009. The arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley, arrested Gates for disorderly conduct after Gates allegedly complained about being accused of breaking into his own home. When asked about the event, President Obama used the word “stupidly” to describe what the police had done. Soon, the public discourse was distracted from the question of whether or not a man should’ve been arrested for existing in his own home to whether or not it was okay for President Obama to call a cop stupid. Since Coogler, unlike Gates, was handcuffed but never arrested, perhaps that’s a sign of progress. If so, it’s progress measured at the speed of erosion.