782.11 Unnecessary killing to prevent unlawful act.—Whoever shall unnecessarily kill another, either while resisting an attempt by such other person to commit any felony, or to do any other unlawful act, or after such attempt shall have failed, shall be deemed guilty of manslaughter, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.—s. 13, ch. 1637, 1868; RS 2388; GS 3213; RGS 5043; CGL 7145; s. 719, ch. 71-136.
(1) The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776 and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder, according to the provisions of this chapter, is manslaughter, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(2) A law enforcement officer, or any person whom the officer has summoned or directed to assist him or her, is not justified in the use of force if the arrest or execution of a legal duty is unlawful and known by him or her to be unlawful. History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1192, ch. 97-102; s. 1, ch. 2008-67.
776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.
History.—s. 13, ch. 74-383; s. 1190, ch. 97-102.
Each state, with the exception of North Carolina, permits citizen arrests if the commission of a felony is witnessed by the arresting citizen, or when a citizen is asked to assist in the apprehension of a suspect by police. The application of state laws varies widely with respect to misdemeanors, breaches of the peace, and felonies not witnessed by the arresting party. For example, Arizona law allows a citizen's arrest if the arrestor has personally witnessed the offense occurring.
American citizens do not carry the authority or enjoy the legal protections held by police officers, and are held to the principle of strict liability before the courts of civil- and criminal law including, but not limited to, any infringement of another's rights. Nonetheless many citizens' arrests are popular news stories.
Though North Carolina General Statutes have no provision for citizens' arrests, detention by private persons is permitted and applies to both private citizens and police officers outside their jurisdiction. Detention is permitted where probable cause exists that one has committed a felony, breach of peace, physical injury to another person, or theft or destruction of property. Detention is different from an arrest in that in a detention the detainee may not be transported without consent.
For reference on why it's obnoxious to see how the kid's death is being pounced on by gun control advocates and Democrats who need material for their campaign against Republicans. It's all theater more concerned with gain than actual concern for what happened with the kid.
Zimmerman is widely exposed to criminal negligence charges by escalating the situation when he was suggested to cease pursuit. Disregarding dispatcher advise and precipitating an attack on himself by trying to stalk a suspect he did not witness committing a felony invalidates any right to a citizen's arrest and puts a major dampener on a self-defense claim.