Bob Dylan Detained By Cops Week After Gates, Story Buried Until Now

Exactly one week after the highly-publicized arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates stirred a national discussion on race relations, legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was detained by police officers in a "low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood" in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Makes one wonder why it took so long for this to get reported, and if news outlets that were convinced Gates's arrest was racially motivated will see the delicious irony in a white rock star being questioned by police just because he was "wandering around the neighborhood."

The Associated Press sure didn't (h/t Clarence Page):

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. [...]

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, 68, to accompany them back to the Ocean Place Resort and Spa, where the performers were staying. Once there, tour staff vouched for Dylan.

Here's the money quote:

The officers thanked him for his cooperation.

"He couldn't have been any nicer to them," Woolley added.

In fact, according to, Dylan was quite gracious:

"He was really nice, though, and he said he understood why I had to verify his identity and why I couldn't let him go," Buble said.

Hmmm. So, Dylan was detained a week after Gates, was cooperative, and the issue was quickly resolved.

And we're hearing about this NOW?

How might this have impacted the Gates-Sgt. James Crowley affair if it had been reported at the time it happened rather than over three weeks after the fact?

None of the news reports I've reviewed concerning the Dylan incident addressed why this matter was buried until now, nor did they mention how it might have related to the Gates-Crowley affair.

I guess when a white rock legend is detained by police for having the nerve to walk around a minority neighborhood, and cooperates fully with the authorities to quickly resolve the misunderstanding, it's not a teachable moment.

Associated Press Henry Louis Gates Bob Dylan
Noel Sheppard's picture

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