Two days before her 94th birthday, Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested and hauled off to jail.
The Eustis, Florida, woman’s crime?
She was being evicted and had fallen behind on her rent, WFTV 9 News reported. Instead of vacating her home at the National Church Residences’ Franklin House, a senior living community, she was accused Wednesday of refusing to leave her unit. Fitzgerald’s 94th birthday is Friday.
When Eustis police officers arrived at the community, Fitzgerald refused officers’ commands to leave and told them, “Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere,” according to the Eustis Police Department report obtained by the Miami Herald.
“Juanita Fitzgerald was made well aware the day prior of her being evicted today,” according to the police report. “While on scene, Juanita was asked several times to leave the property and was advised she was currently trespassed and could no longer stay at this location.”
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. At one point she grabbed the glasses from a deputy’s face.
Eventually, the five-foot, 100-pound woman was escorted out of the building and into the rear seat of Officer David Perez’s police car and taken to Lake County Jail.
She was charged with trespassing, according to the police report.
But she was given one liberty.
“Due to Juanita’s age, it was deemed necessary to transport her without handcuffs to reduce risk of injury,” the report read.
Franklin House staff offered to help her move, according to the police report, but Fitzgerald refused.
She also refused assistance from the Department of Children and Families, The Homeless Coalition, Department of Elder Affairs and eight other agencies, officers said.
Her prisoner property report inventory listed a purse with contents inside, a bag with miscellaneous contents — and one walker.