Like a bad game of telephone, the crowd spread rumors without anyone having witnessed exactly what happened.
Several people said the group had been arrested for praying. Others said the group was arrested for ripping up pages from the nearly 2,000-page health care bill.
To show support for them, members of the crowd started ripping up their pages from the bill, which rally organizers had handed out for the purpose of reading them to members of Congress.
"Here's a piece of paper, I'm tearing it," one woman shouted as another joined in: "I tore a piece too!"
That woman later told the officers, "I know you guys are just doing your job but don't you hate your job?"
"I'm embarrassed," another woman told her friends.
"Read your history books," another woman shouted at the officers.
"Thugs from Chicago," a man shouted at police.
"Arrest Nancy Pelosi for treason. You're arresting the wrong people," another shouted. "Arrest some real terrorists!"
One of the men arrested (photo below) appeared to be wearing a priest's collar. He was ill, and officers were holding him up as he sat on the curb. After several minutes, he was led away in an ambulance and the crowd shouted that he was a "hero."
"Shame on you!" the crowd erupted. "These guys are patriots!"
"In your heart you know this is wrong," a man yelled at police.
We're uploading video of the strange scene, but it may take awhile, so check back.
Late update: Here is the first video we've uploaded, of the "God Bless America" moment.
That's when the heckling really kicks up.
Friday update: Evan is running down the story of these arrests, Randall Terry's group was involved. Also, the man who was on the curb appears to be Norman Weslin, and we dug up some video showing him using similar tactics as he was arrested at a Notre Dame protest when President Obama spoke during graduation.
Additional reporting by Eric Kleefeld.