One principle of U.S. law is that two people can be charged with different crimes even though they engaged in the exact same activity.
For example, let's say a man and a woman each take a pistol out into the street in front of their home, and they both then fire their guns into the air. The bullet from the man's firearm falls harmlessly to the ground, but the bullet from the woman's gun strikes a girl on the next street over and kills her. The man would probably be arrested for illegally discharging a weapon – but the woman would likely be charged with manslaughter.
This concept could also be applied to an incident earlier this year at a supermarket in Greenwood. According to police, 23-year old Brandon Graves-Benavides was in a QFC on the morning of February 29 when he got into an altercation with an elderly man. Graves-Benavides allegedly shoved the 87-year old's shopping cart, and an argument and fight ensued. During the melee, the elderly man was knocked to the ground; and subsequently, Graves-Benavides was tossed out of the store by management.
Had this altercation involved Graves-Benavides and a man closer to his age, the victim might have been lightly injured (or not hurt at all) and the 23-year old would have probably been charged with misdemeanor assault or a similarly lenient offense. However, when Frederick Nesbitt fell, he broke his hip and had to undergo surgery. Even though Nesbitt was released to a rehabilitation center, his health declined and he eventually passed away on April 8 in Issaquah. (This is not uncommon; the CDC says one in five people who suffer a hip fracture die within the next year.)
As a result, Graves-Benavides was charged with manslaughter earlier this month. He will be arraigned in Seattle on May 2. Though some people may not think it is “fair” that Graves-Benavides faces a manslaughter charge just for shoving someone in a fight, the outcome of an incident can have a substantial impact on how a criminal act is categorized.