Phoenix official orders woman to stop handing out free water during extreme heat wave, claims she needs 'permit'

Saturday, August 18, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: permits, charity, water

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(NaturalNews) In the United Police States of America, there is no more room for free-thinking individuals that wish to take common sense action as they see fit, at least not when they try to do so without the government's permission. In a shocking display of utter tyranny against a free individual trying to contribute to the greater good, an official in Phoenix, Arizona, recently ordered resident Dana Crow-Smith to stop handing out free bottles of water to thirsty passersby trying to survive the extreme heat wave, claiming that she needs a permit to conduct this act of good will.

WND.com's Bob Unruh reports that Crow-Smith was approached by a Phoenix code enforcement officer during a recent downtown festival, the days of which saw temperatures reach as high as 112 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly 45 degrees Celsius). Crow-Smith says she merely wanted to hand out free water to thirsty festival attendees "as a means of exercising her Christian beliefs."

"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," said Crow-Smith to ABC 15 News in Phoenix.

But Dwayne Grierson, the "Neighborhood Preservation Inspector" who approached Crow-Smith, told the woman that she was in violation of Phoenix City Code because she did not possess a vendor's permit. Handing out free water, she was told, is prohibited in the city of Phoenix without having first jumped through the local government's regulatory hoops, which in essence implies that local citizens are required to get permission from Big Brother before engaging in acts of kindness.

Government redefines acts of charity of 'vending'

Phoenix City Code; however, does not actually prohibit individuals like Crow-Smith from handing out free water, or anything else for that matter. It merely states that individuals are not free to sell goods or services on public sidewalks and property without first obtaining a vending permit. Grierson, and perhaps the entire City of Phoenix -- it is unclear at this point whether or not the city stands by Grierson's actions -- is simply reinterpreting the law to target charity efforts as if they were commerce.

"Phoenix City Code prohibits only 'vending' on city sidewalks without a license," wrote John W. Whitehead, from the Rutherford Institute (RI), which is now representing Crow-Smith in a potential legal filing, in a letter to the city. "'Sidewalk vending' is defined as 'peddling, vending, selling, displaying, or offering for sale any item of tangible personal property or other thing of value upon a sidewalk of the city of Phoenix."

You can view a completely copy of the RI letter here: www.rutherford.org

If Phoenix officials fail to apologize to Crow-Smith and affirm her and all others' rights to freely perform acts of charity on public sidewalks, RI is prepared to take "legal action" against the city for violating both the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as Arizona's Religious Freedom Amendment.

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