Music legend Bob Dylan was stopped by a police officer in Long Branch, New Jersey on July 23 after residents phoned in complaints that a disheveled, shabbily-dressed man was acting suspiciously, reports ABC. The 68-year-old rock icon was in town preparing for a concert with Willie Nelson and John Cougar Mellencamp. They were scheduled to perform later that evening in nearby Lakewood, which is about a two hour drive south of New York City.
Long Branch police officer Kristie Buble, 24, was dispatched to the scene “We got a call for a suspicious person,”‘ said Buble. “It was pouring rain outside, and I was right around the corner so I responded. By that time he was walking down the street. I asked him what he was doing in the neighborhood and he said he was looking at a house for sale.”
Buble, who says she did not recognize Dylan, claims that he was acting suspiciously – not delusional, mind you, just suspicious. “We see a lot of people on our beat, and I wasn’t sure if he came from one of our hospitals or something.”
When Bob Dylan was unable to produce any ID, Buble and another officer (who was dispatched to assist Buble) took him back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa where he was staying. Once there, members of the tour staff were able to vouch for Dylan and confirm his identity.
Some bloggers and commentators are drawing comparisons between the Bob Dylan incident and the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest. The distinguished African-American Harvard professor was arrested last month at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts after police officers arrived on the scene to investigate a possible break-in. Some argue that he was the victim of racial profiling.
But some are now arguing that the police are just as apt to profile white people as well. Could one not consider what happened to Bob Dylan to be a case of social-class profiling? Did the officers not assume that Dylan was a transient? Or a criminal? It didn’t seem to make a difference to them that Dylan was white.
Whether the two cases can fairly be compared is a matter of debate.
On lighter note, it is interesting that the Bob Dylan’s run-in with the police coincides with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock.
Some consider Woodstock to be the greatest concert in American history. Over a three-day period, 400,000 people enjoyed a lot of music (and nudity) performed by some of the greatest acts of the era.
Interestingly, though, the era’s biggest commercial acts declined to participate. And who were the biggest commercial rock acts back in 1969? They were the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and, last but not least, Bob Dylan.
New Jersey Homeowner Calls Cops on Bob Dylan, Chris Francescani, ABC
Harvard Professor Gates Arrested at Cambridge Home, Tracy Jan, Boston.com