The City of Phoenix could face a lawsuit after a city worker told a woman she could not hand out free water. Lawyers say that, under the 1st and 14th amendments, Dana Crow-Smith should have been able to give water to thirsty citizens.
Crow-Smith was handing out free water last month in Phoenix when she was told she was violating city code and would need a permit in order to continue. She was threatened with a citation.
“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,” Crow-Smith said.
The Rutherford Institute is representing Crow-Smith, believing that the city violated “Crow-Smith’s First Amendment right to freely exercise her religion, her Fourteenth Amendment due process rights, as well as Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act.”
The Rutherford Institute wants the city apologize to Crow-Smith and state that she is allowed to distribute water in the future. If the city does not comply, The Rutherford Institute says that a lawsuit will ensue.
“But I don’t think it’s even about religious beliefs. I think anybody should be able to giveaway water on the sidewalk to anybody. It’s hot and it’s a nice thing to do,” Crow-Smith said.
John W. Whitehead, the president of The Rutherford Institute agreed: “It is a sad day when local government officials prohibit Americans from such charitable acts as giving water to the thirsty in their city.”