Police Arrest and Handcuff a 93-year-old Woman at Seniors Home

When a 93-year-old woman was dragged out of an assisted living home by cops, she grabbed mass media attention after footage of her arrest went viral. Soon after, a reporter for a news channel met her in jail. He was shocked to discover her.

Many older adults in America have found the senior home arrangement to be a great way to maintain their independence. It’s hard to imagine anyone not wanting to enjoy the peaceful retirement years with a small, close-knit senior group of like-minded people.

This is what you would expect to see after meeting Juanita Fitzgerald, a 93-year old senior home resident in Eustis. But who knew that this poor woman would face a nightmare when the cops arrested her just a few days before her 94th birthday. She screamed and kicked to get her freedom, but no one listened. 

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


Juanita Fitzgerald was a resident of Franklin House, Florida, since April 2011. She had lived a quiet independent life away from her family for over six years when the unfortunate incident happened in December 2017.

Fitzgerald’s caretakers informed Fitzgerald that she was no longer allowed to stay at the facility. The backstory is that Fitzgerald had previously raised a concern about mold in her apartment. However, nothing was found in her flat when she was inspected by the facility.

Fitzgerald, who was reportedly angry at Fitzgerald for refusing to pay her rent for three consecutive months, assumed that she would die soon. After Fitzgerald refused to pay her rent for three months, things turned ugly between them and the facility. They asked Fitzgerald to pack up her belongings and move on. But when Fitzgerald stubbornly refused, they called 911.

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


On December 12, 2017, the Eustis police officers arrived at the assisted living facility at 2400 Kurt St. and met Fitzgerald with Lake County deputies in the front lobby.

After Fitzgerald was arrested, the news received widespread attention. AdriannaIwasinski, News 6’s investigative interviewed Fitzgerald in prison.

They tried to contact Fitzgerald’s family, and reached out to various agencies to help her before taking immediate action. Their efforts proved futile as the elderly woman refused to accept any help and stated that she would not leave. “unless they carried her out.”

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


The officers realized that Fitzgerald would not be persuaded to leave the building. They took the necessary steps to force Fitzgerald to leave. 

The officers approached Fitzgerald and she began to slide out of her chair onto concrete. She refused to join them. Fitzgerald was eventually dragged from the building by the officers. 

Poor girl kicked and Screamed, “OWW, GOD, YOU’RE HURTING ME!” but the officers had already dragged her into their patrol car. Considering her age, she wasn’t handcuffed and was sent to jail, and the incident was taped on an officer’s bodycam.

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


Karen Twinem from National Church Residences, who manages the assisted facility Fitzgerald lived in since 2011, was horrified by the incident.

“This is extremely rare… We try to find places for people,”She . Terri Goldberg (a senior resident in Franklin House) said that Fitzgerald could be helped by enough people. She Detailed explanation:

“I feel like everything was done that could possibly be done to help her…I feel a lot of this was brought on herself.”

Juanita Fitzgerald | Source: YouTube/Inside Edition


After Fitzgerald was arrested, the news received widespread media attention. AdriannaIwasinski, News 6’s investigative interviewed Fitzgerald inside prison. Dressed in an orange prison suit, the older woman appeared for the interview handcuffed with bruises on her arms.

Fitzgerald refuted the claims against her regarding her refusal to pay rent. “She wouldn’t take it…that woman blamed me for the mold,”She spoke out about an employee of the senior home. Addition:

“I paid my September rent, and when she decided she was going to put me out, she wouldn’t accept any rent after that.”

Source: YouTube/Inside Edition| Source: YouTube/Inside Edition

94th Birthday: NOT BEHIND BAARS

Fitzgerald also admitted that Franklin House had attempted to move Fitzgerald in at another facility before she declined. “I don’t have anybody. My family is in Tennessee, and I told them not to tell my son anything that’s going on,” she emotionally revealed, pointing to the sky, Say it:

“I don’t want them to help me. I don’t need no help. I’ve got all the help I need.”

Fitzgerald was released after two days in prison and his arrest. Released without a bond payment. Just one day before her 94th Birthday, she was turned over to a caregiver. Fitzgerald was still facing trespassing allegations and was scheduled to appear in court December 2017.

Source: Twitter/@AIwasinski| Source: Twitter/@AIwasinski

Questions to consider:

Do you believe Fitzgerald was rightfully dragged out of the assisted-living facility by the police officers who refused to let her go?

Franklin House’s caretakers reported Fitzgerald for failing to pay rent. She refused to accept any help from the cops, even though they tried to find her. Fitzgerald refused to be taken with them by the cops at this point. She fell off her chair onto the ground, forcing officers to forcefully drag her to her patrol car. Is it possible to avoid this given Fitzgerald’s age? Would you be willing to interrupt the woman you saw doing this, or would the police do their job?

Are you sure Fitzgerald could have been dealt with differently by the seniors home caretakers than she was arrested?

After Fitzgerald refused to pay her rent for three months, the assisted living facility said they couldn’t care for Fitzgerald anymore. In her interview, she revealed that Fitzgerald was willing to pay her rent but the facility’s employee wouldn’t accept it since it was already decided to expel her. Are you sure Fitzgerald would have been saved from arrest if her caretakers had discussed the issue with her rather than reporting to the police?

Click here to see another story about how a stranger spoke and interrupted cops. “Leave him alone,”They detained an 8-year-old boy who was crying in broad daylight after he cried.


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