Obama: Police Acted 'Stupidly' in Gates Case

"He never even stepped into a courtroom and the charges were dropped," Frank added. "The fact that Gates is as well-known and as prominent as he is makes this case unusual."

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has publicly stated that he is friendly with Gates and Charles Ogletree, another Harvard University professor who is acting as Gates' attorney.

Simmons has said she is "outraged" at the arrest of Gates, who she also knows socially.

The remarks have raised questions about politicians intervening on Gates' behalf.

A spokesman for Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone insisted that political influence did not play a role in the case.

"Once a complaint is issued it can be dropped at anytime," said the spokesman, Corey Welford.

Leone brokered a meeting between Ogletree and Cambridge police officials to see "if the case could be resolved,'' Welford said. "The district attorney agreed to drop the charges after an agreement was made between the Cambridge Police Department and Gates' attorney.''

At a press conference Tuesday, Downes said that she still believed there was "probable cause" for Gates' arrest.

"I think what went wrong personally is that you had two human beings that were reacting to a set of circumstances, and unfortunately at the time cooler heads did not prevail," said Downes.

"I think both parties were wrong," said Downes. "I think that's fair to say. It wasn't Professor Gates' best moment, and it was not the Cambridge Police Department's best moment."

Gates, who according to his lawyer had been trying to force open a jammed door, was inside the house when the Cambridge police officer got there.

Asked about allegations that Gates' arrest was racially fueled, Downes said, "Our position is very firmly that race did not play any factor at all in the arrest of Mr. Gates."

Though Gates eventually identified himself, he was arrested after he allegedly came out of the house and continued yelling at police, even after he was warned that he "was becoming disorderly," according to the police report.

The officers were sent to the house after a 911 call placed by Lucia Whalen Thursday afternoon. Whalen, who works at Harvard magazine, had reported that two "black men with backpacks" shouldered their way into a home on a tony, upscale Cambridge block -- one of the leafy neighborhoods that ring the college.

Downes said that she hoped Gates' arrest will be a learning experience for the Cambridge Police Department.

Gates, the director of Harvard's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, and former host of the PBS show "African American Lives," had just returned from a trip to China and found the front door of his home jammed, according to Ogletree.

He entered the house through the back door, but then tried to get the front door open so he could bring his luggage in, which may have been when the woman who called 911 saw, Ogletree said.

Gates has declined to discuss the incident, but the Rev. Al Sharpton, who spoke to the Harvard professor, told ABC News that Gates is "clearly upset and in a state of disbelief."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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