Other cases, however, seem to take the opposite view. See, e.g., Barnes v. City of New York, 296 A.D.2d 330, 745 N.Y.S.2d 20 (2002) (civil rights action against city and police officer for shooting of plaintiff by city's police officer; "During the trial of this action, defendants sought to introduce evidence that plaintiff was a member of a group known as the "Five Percenters," which espouses a vicious ideological hatred of the police and propounds to its members a protocol to shoot and kill police officers rather than submit to arrest. n1 The trial court excluded this evidence on the ground that it was collateral and unfairly prejudicial, and the jury resolved factual issues in favor of plaintiff, rendering a verdict for him. We now hold that, contrary to the trial court's view, exclusion of such evidence constituted reversible error requiring that there be a new trial."; "Evidence of plaintiff's membership in the Five Percenters, under the circumstances presented here, was relevant to show that he had a specific motive to resist any police officer's attempt to arrest him, giving rise to the fair inference that plaintiff was likely to act in accordance with such motive in his encounter with Officer Jerome.")
So which is it? Is prejudice against a group a character trait that arguably inclines the hater toward a particular action or is it a motive for an action? The distinction implied by the question may seem ethereal but the answer to the question affects the admissibility of evidence of prejudice toward a group.
My thanks to Joannes Untalan Vinarao-Pilapil for unearthing Outley.
coming soon: the law of evidence on Spindle Law