TPMDC happened upon a crowd that formed around two police vans as the protesters were prepared for "transporting," according to one officer there.
Without those official details, protesters in the crowd watching the arrests were furious. They shouted "Let them go!" and one man yelled at the police that "Martin Luther King" was being dishonored and shouted "Letter from Birmingham Jail!"
One woman told officers they were "shameful."
"This is America, this is not the Soviet Union," one woman said.
Like a bad game of telephone, the crowd spread rumors without anyone having witnessed exactly what happened.
You really need to read the entire post over at TPM DC. It's a case study in how misinformation spreads rapidly and horribly false conclusions are drawn by people predisposed to anger and action.
This isn't unique to the Tea Party movement, and it would be hilarious if it weren't also so potentially damaging, both physically and to the health of the healthcare debate we really need.
I can already see the headlines based on these unsubstantiated outbursts:
CAPITOL POLICE ARREST PRAYER GROUP
OBAMA THUGS SHRED CONSTITUTION
SOCIALISTS SOCIALIZE SOCIALISM!!