Off the Pigs: a people’s primer on the origins of policing in NYC

Sep 14 2020
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Knowledge share description

This knowledge share seeks to de-mystify this city’s standing army.  The NYPD is a seemingly-limitless municipal entity cloaked in mystery. With a staff of 55,000 armed officers and bureaucrats, it is legally shielded from sharing strategies and data, interfacing with the public only through propagandized and sanitized retellings of its inflated role in upholding society.

As we gain awareness of the evolution of state-sponsored violence as social enforcement and private property protection, we can begin to peer through the chinks in the armor. Together, we can begin to envision ways to dismantle policing and incarceration, clearing space for a new world.

The knowledge share will include:

  • the reign of tax collectors as social enforcers in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam

  • the rise of government-sponsored mercenaries who roamed colonial territories to enact genocide on Indigenous people

  • the British-led volunteer army of night watchmen who roamed the dark streets to carry lanterns and shout the time

  • the forced eviction and dissolution of free Black communities like Seneca Village

  • new york city officials’ overt participation in the “reverse underground railroad” – kidnapping free Black people to sell as slaves in the deep south

  • the official formation of the NYPD as a privately-financed force to quell working class riots in the growing communities of migrant workers

  • the criminalization of queer joy and gender rebels in 19th century nightlife

  • the integration of nypd-specific copaganda into the media landscape of the 20th century


Sliding scale $10-45

$50 Reparations

*free for youth and formerly incarcerated ppl* 


Kale (they/them) is an herban storykeeper living and breathing in Canarsee, Lënapehóking. They are a descendant of enslaved Africans, Black Seminole resistors, and Ugahxpa people. They draw their knowledge of territory from both ecosystem and archives — diving deep into the realm of traditional research, then pulling out to ask elements, ancestors, and more-than-human kin which stories are ready to be shared.

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