Phoenix, AZ – Dana Crow-Smith was allegedly threatened with a citation from a Neighborhood Preservation Inspector because she was handing out free bottled water to residents during a First Friday Festival in downtown Phoenix. Dana Crow-Smith was allegedly told handing out free bottled water without a permit is a violation of Phoenix city code, according to The Blaze.
Free bottled water was handed out by Dana Crow-Smith and a small group of others who reportedly felt they were exercising their Christian beliefs by “engaging” others to talk about religion if they wanted, ABC 15 News notes. There are no known complaints about the group handing out free bottled water by residents gathered for the First Friday Festival in downtown Phoenix. It was 112 degrees in Arizona on the day free bottled water was distributed to the Phoenix festival crowd.
“It was really hot and yeah we wanted to show God’s love and a small act of kindness is a great way to do that without shoving it down someone’s throat,” Dana Crow-Smith told ABC 15 News.
The Rutherford Institute, a non-profit civil liberties organization, offered to represent Dana Crow-Smith in the free bottled water battle against the Phoenix Neighborhood Preservation Inspector.
“It is a sad day when local government officials prohibit Americans from such charitable acts as giving water to the thirsty in their city,” Rutherford Institute John W. Whitehead stated, according to The Blaze.
The Rutherford Institute considers the Phoenix free bottle water giveaway incident First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment issues as well as a violation of Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act.
Dana Crow-Smtih also stated during the ABC 15 News interview that she would prefer to avoid a lawsuit and just give free bottled water to thirsty Arizonans. Crow-Smith also believes handing out free bottled water is not really an issue about religious beliefs; she thinks it is a nice thing anyone should be allowed to do on a really hot day.