Lucia Whalen found herself in the middle of a national race debate after Gates was arrested by Cambridge, Mass. police on July 16th who responded to her call of a possible break-in at Gates' home.
Whalen's lawyer, Wendy Murphy, said the flowers, which appeared to be tulips, were a "gesture of gratitude" but declined to say what was in the note. Whalen was compelled to come out publicly and defend herself after she faced accusations of racism for making the call.
It turned out it was Gates himself, along with a driver, who was trying to push his way into the house after the door jammed. Cops responding to the call found the professor irate over what he thought was police racially profiling him. His anger led to a disorderly conduct charge, which was later dropped.
But the drama did not end there as President Obama waded into the controversy and characterized the police as "acting stupidly" by arresting Gates at his home after it had been established that the celebrated professor lived there.
Obama's comments sparked outrage among cops and conservatives who suggested that the real racial profiling was committed by Whalen who overreacted to seeing two black men forcing themselves into the house.
Whalen was eventually vindicated when 911 tapes were released showing that she never identified the men by their race - until she was asked repeatedly by the 911 operator. Even then, she hedged her answer, saying one of the men "appeared" to be Hispanic.
The drama was finally put to rest with a White House meeting between Gates, Obama and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley. The three men, along with Vice President Joe Biden, shared beers and talked it through.
"[Whalen] said that she really appreciated it,'' Murphy told the Boston Globe. "She's been getting a lot of apologies and people have been saying nice things."