EUSTIS, Fla. (WSVN) — Police arrested an elderly woman in central Florida after she refused to be evicted from her senior home.
Juanita Fitzgerald, 93, was taken to the Lake County Jail Wednesday, just days before her 94th birthday. Eustis Police said she refused to leave after receiving an eviction notice for falling behind on her rent, which she had not paid in three months.
“After several times telling Juanita to get her belongings and leave, she refused officers’ commands and stated, ‘Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere,’” the police report said.
According to WFTV, Fitzgerald intentionally slid to the floor when police tried to escort her out of the building, and resisted as officers attempted to pick her up.
Eustis Police released bodycam footage, showing Fitzgerald screaming and resisting officers during her arrest. The report notes that officers did not handcuff her due to her age and the possibility that she could be injured in the process.
“They wouldn’t treat a murderer like they treated me,” Fitzgerald said of the bruises she sustained during the arrest.
A representative for the company that owns the facility said Fitzgerald told staffers she decided to not pay her rent because she thought she was going to die soon, WKMG reports. Fitzgerald, however, claims that’s not true.
Police said staff of the Franklin House facility offered to help her move, but she refused. Fitzgerald also refused help from multiple agencies, including the Department of Children and Families and The Homeless Coalition, officers said.
When asked why she refused any help that was offered, even from her own family, Fitzgerald told WKMG, “I don’t want them to help me. I don’t need no help. I’ve got all the help I need” as she pointed toward the sky.
“I feel like everything was done that could possibly be done to help her. I feel a lot of this was brought on herself,” one resident said.