Rock legend Bob Dylan was treated like a complete unknown by police in a New Jersey shore community when a resident called to report someone wandering around the neighborhood.
Dylan was in Long Branch, about a two-hour drive south of New York City, on July 23 as part of a tour with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp that was to play at a baseball stadium in nearby Lakewood.
A 24-year-old police officer apparently was unaware of who Dylan is and asked him for identification, Long Branch business administrator Howard Woolley said Friday.
"I don't think she was familiar with his entire body of work," Woolley said.
The incident began at 5 p.m. when a resident said a man was wandering around a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood several blocks from the oceanfront looking at houses.
The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:
"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.
"Bob Dylan," Dylan said.
"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.
"I'm on tour," the singer replied.
A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.
The officers asked Dylan for identification. The singer of such classics as "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Blowin' in the Wind" said that he didn't have any ID with him, that he was just walking around looking at houses to pass some time before that night's show.
The officers asked Dylan, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.A novice policewoman picked up an "eccentric old man acting suspiciously", completely unaware that it was Bob Dylan.The officers thanked him for his cooperation.
"He couldn't have been any nicer to them," Woolley added.
Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling.
Police arrived at Gates’s Ware Street home near Harvard Square at 12:44 p.m. to question him. Gates, director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, had trouble unlocking his door after it became jammed.
He was booked for disorderly conduct after “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior,” according to a police report. '
Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had "no idea who he was messing with,'' the report said.
Gates told the officer that he was being targeted because "I'm a black man in America.''
Friends of Gates said he was already in his home when police arrived. He showed his driver’s license and Harvard identification card, but was handcuffed and taken into police custody for several hours last Thursday, they said.
The police report said Gates was arrested after he yelled at the investigating officer repeatedly inside the residence then followed the officer outside, where Gates continued to upbraid him. "It was at that time that I informed Professor Gates that he was under arrest,'' the officer wrote in the report.
Dylan is an amazing man to me.
I read another article this morning where they mentioned that he's known for this kind of stuff. He was seen getting on a public bus to go to his concert in Belfast, etc.
An amazing lack of pretense.
You might remember the post I did on him at AB on the song and video of Blood in My Eyes. If I am not mistaken, Dylan's world-weariness is born out of "a long contemplation of God". His wandering around in middle-class neighborhoods, and using public transportation to go to concerts, betrays a sense of wonder amidst the world-weariness.
This is not a man focused on his ego. He is focused on something bigger.
Gates is the opposite.