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Activist Group Plans 40-Day, 40-Night Phoenix Mountain Encampment

Ten years ago, God's Army and its founder, Richard Tamayo, planted a cross atop Shadow Mountain near Cave Creek Road and Sweetwater Avenue, before the police intervened. A decade later, the group plans to return to the mountain for an extended stay.

Tamayo is organizing a 40-day, 40-night encampment on the mountain to help raise homeless awareness. Tamayo, a former NYPD detective, said he's led God's Army into communities with higher crime rates to provide additional support. But now the group has an additional focus on the homeless community. 

He's started to incorporate homeless members into God's Army and has even distributed uniforms, to help prevent abuse.

"We've got to break the vicious cycle of abuse," Tamayo said, "and cause public awareness of what's going on with them."

Tamayo said he knows that city officials might try to stop him and his group. That is why on February 21, he appeared before Phoenix City Council, announcing his plans.

"These are people that are willing to fight," Tamayo said of the homeless people who plan on joining the mountain encampment, "because they've been arrested for sleeping in a park or they get chased or they get trespassed."

Tamayo said there's no set date at the moment for the encampment.