Elderly woman forcibly removed from residence, jailed days before 94th birthday

Aaron Brown
December 16, 2017

A 93-year-old Florida woman was arrested after body camera video showed her fighting with officers who were evicting her from her home, officials said.

Fitzgerald was evicted from the National Church Residences' Franklin House senior living facility in Eustis, Florida, after falling three months behind on her rent, News 6 reported.

Fitzgerald had apparently told police that she would not be going anywhere unless they physically carried her out - and so they did.

As officers attempted to escort her from the front lobby, Fitzgerald "intentionally slid out of her chair and onto the floor", according to the report.

She was held in the Lake County Jail on a $500 bond and has been there since Tuesday.

A judge ordered her release Thursday, a day before her 94th birthday. The report notes that officers did not handcuff her due to her age and the possibility that she could be injured in the process.

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Police said they offered Fitzgerald assistance from almost a dozen agencies to avoid arresting her, but she refused, so they had no choice but to place her under arrest for trespassing.

Fitzgerald did not have to pay bond but must appear for a December 27 court appearance, officials said. Fitzgerald claims that she tried to pay rent in October but the center refused to take her money.

According to Eustis police, Juanita Fitzgerald was asked several times to leave Franklin House, a specialized living community, but refused to do so. "My family is in Tennessee and I told them not to tell my son anything that's going on", she said.

"This is extremely rare", said Twinem, who said National Church Residences runs 340 properties. They said: 'We tried to convince her'.

Twinem said the organization had tried to communicate with the 93-year-old's family about the eviction, and also tried to help her get assistance. "I've got all the help I need" as she pointed toward the sky. Moments later, a woman says "I want her to go in my vehicle - I would love for her to go in my auto".

She is now staying in a Tavares hotel room, which is being paid for with donations.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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