HomeHealth93-Year-Old Woman Dragged Out Of Seniors’ Home By Police

93-Year-Old Woman Dragged Out Of Seniors’ Home By Police

Police At Her Door

No one in the senior retirement home had ever seen anything like that before. Suddenly, a patrol of officers came galloping up the stairs, letting the stomp of their boots resound all over the nursing home, breaking the peace and quiet that was usually the norm in the place.

Glasgow Times

A crowd of staff and residents came together under the stairs, wondering what could be going on. One of the nurses took out her phone and started recording. Then, everyone heard the screams.


This story has recently caused an uproar in the media and given rise to a debate about how the elderly are treated in our society. Some people believe it’s a regrettable exhibition of brutality and lack of compassion, while others think the situation is more nuanced.

The Independent

We’ll let you decide by yourself after you read all the details of the story of this 93-year-old lady who saw herself forced to confront law enforcement.

Juanita Fitzgerald

Juanita Fitzgerald is a 93-year-old woman from Tennessee who has been living in a retirement home in Eustis, Florida, for the last 10 years.

AGE Platform Europe

Senior retirement communities are often the best choice for those who prefer to spend the autumn of their years living independently, yet among people of similar age and surrounded by qualified staff who can assist them in case of need. However, not all that glitters is gold.


However, conflicts can also sometimes arise in this type of environment. The peace and quiet of the nursing home were suddenly shattered when Juanita Fitzgerald got in trouble with the Lake County Police Department. 


When it happened, only a few people in the retirement community knew what was going on. But now, the reasons have been made public, and they’re causing a debate on whether it was a fair situation or an outrageous and unjustified episode.

A Solitary Lady

Juanita was known by the staff and residents of the retirement community to be a rather solitary individual. She didn’t get along too well with her family; in all her years there, it seemed like she had never received a single visit.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

She didn’t have too many friends among the other seniors either. And as far as the staff, her relationship with them was quite peculiar.

She Was Difficult Sometimes

Usually, she would be reasonably polite to the people working in the nursing home. However, when things didn’t go her way, she would sometimes throw tantrums and even get rude.

Orlando Sentinel

These episodes would typically not last any longer than a few hours. Also, the staff was kind of used to Juanita’s personality and knew how to handle her, so there never was any major problem with her. Until that day.

Things Changed

One day, Juanita started complaining more than usual. Suddenly, she seemed to have a problem with every little thing about how things were run at the retirement home.

International Business Times

The staff wondered what could have happened to explain this sudden shift in Juanita’s mood. Now her fits didn’t go away after a few hours: she stayed in a bad mood for weeks and weeks. And most of her complaints focused on one specific thing.


The lady complained that there was some mold on her room’s walls that made the space unhabitable for her. Every time one of the nurses entered her room, Juanita would go on long rants about how the mold was making her life hell.


A team of professionals inspected the room; however, no mold whatsoever was found on its walls. But after they communicated this to Juanita, things only got worse.

She Wasn’t Having It

She didn’t seem satisfied with the professionals’ report. And at this point, the details of the story get blurry, as there are different versions of it depending on whether you ask Juanita or the staff in the retirement home.

Camille Atebe

According to the staff, Juanita single-handedly decided to stop paying rent. But what was even more outlandish was the reason that she gave for that.


Juanita argued she was sure she didn’t have much time left in the world, so she would stop paying rent, as she could pass away at any moment.


However, Juanita’s version of the story is different. According to her, the retirement home manager just decided to evict her arbitrarily and would take her money even though she kept trying to pay rent. Unfortunately, the conclusion to this disagreement was an appalling episode.

Police Steps In

One day, a police car pulled up in front of the seniors’ home. A patrol of officers came out, entered the retirement community, and started climbing up the stairs as the shocked residents stared at them.


Then, everyone could hear the screams and shrieks. A minute later, the officers came down the stairs holding Juanita, who didn’t stop yelling at them to let go of her. Then, they got her in the car and took her to the station.


Soon enough, images surfaced of the 93-year-old lady sitting at the police station, handcuffed and in a state of distress, asking the officers to let her go home.

The Irish Sun

According to the reports, the officers had tried to convince her to pack her belongings and leave the building, as she had been evicted by the caretakers. But she refused. The officers argued they weren’t left with any option other than holding her and escorting her out of the retirement home.

They Sent Her To Jail

After the incident, Juanita stayed a few days in jail, as she didn’t have any other place to go. This has caused a big uproar in the media; many people have found how law enforcement has treated the elderly woman outrageous.

Public Domain

However, a few more details of the story have made it to the reports. Apparently, there’s more to this case than what it might have seemed at first glance.

Nuances To The Story

Juanita has admitted that the retirement home offered to find her another place to live when she stopped paying rent and before the police officers were called. However, she refused to move elsewhere.


After a few days, Juanita was released and started living in a Hotel in Tavares. However, she barely has any means to support herself and rejects any help that is offered to her.

“For God”

According to Juanita, the only thing she misses is her Bible, which she left in her old room in the retirement community. “I could probably get some more clothes. I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for God,” she said.

Public Domain

When the body cam footage from the police arresting Juanita made its way onto social media, it sparked a public outcry and became the topic of heated debates on Reddit and Facebook. 


While most netizens agreed that Juanita was in the wrong for refusing to pay her rent, the treatment of the whole situation by the police attracted a lot of backlash. 


“Damnit. Why can’t the cops just ignore the law and selectively enforce the law according to their own personal belief systems?!? What kind of world is this?!?” one Redditor wrote.


People were outraged by the way the police had manhandled a senior citizen, and photos of the bruises on Juanita’s arms began to circulate. 


And, to add insult to injury, Juanita was arrested just two days before her 94th birthday. The police, however, remained steadfast in their decision to arrest her and even released a statement defending their actions. 

Defending Their Actions

“Since all available options were refused by Ms. Fitzgerald, who appeared to have the mental capacity to form and make her own decisions, the officers had no alternative but to take Fitzgerald into custody,” the statement said. 


Juanita had been living in the Franklin House facility since 2011. But was the physical force used to detain the 93-year-old really necessary?

“Extremely Rare”

Karen Twinem of National Church Residences – which operates the facility – was shocked and appalled by the incident. “This is extremely rare… We try to find places for people,” she said.

New York Post

She also reiterated that the facility had tried to get Juanita help many times before things came to a head. They had also tried to contact her family to let them know she’d been evicted.

Her Family

“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 said. 

Global News

Juanita has a 70-year-old daughter and a 76-year-old son, who, as she said, live in Tennessee. But, she said that her children have their own health issues to deal with, and she doesn’t want to worry them or get them involved.  

The Footage

The upsetting police body cam footage shows Juanita screaming at the police officers and resisting arrest. At one point in the video, she slid out of her wheelchair and onto the ground to make arresting her more difficult. 

Lake County Police

Juanita screamed: “Ow, you’re hurting me” several times in the video. It’s a difficult thing to watch – especially when you consider that what she owed amounted to just $161.

Heated Debate

“It’s not ok to not pay your rent at 94 because you really can’t but it is totally fine to avoid billions and billions of taxes. Welcome to humanity,” one dismayed Reddit user wrote, sparking a heated debate on the platform. 


Some agreed with the opinion, but others were less sympathetic to Juanita’s situation when they found out that there was another side to the story.


“…except this woman could (pay rent) but just refused to despite it. Then she was evicted and refused to cooperate in any capacity when the police arrived,” another Reddit user argued. 

Lake County Police

“Then she rejected multiple offers to help her keep a roof over her head. I mean what exactly is it you suggest should have been done? 

What Were They Supposed To Do?

“She gets to live rent free wherever she likes and the actual owners of the place just have to suck it up until she dies because she’s old?” the user continued. “There’s plenty of issues in the world that highlight the problems you talk about. This old bat is not one of them.” 


However, Franklin House is actually public housing, not a business. Then, the first user replied with a point about the issue with our capitalist society that got everyone thinking.

The Problem With Capitalism

“I think Jeff Bezos, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Apple, and the list goes on can pay their taxes and they can pay much more than they’re used to without even knowing they’re paying it but yet they don’t. And they don’t end up in prison, do they?” the Redditor retorted. 

The Independent

Many thought that Juanita’s story had only highlighted the problems in modern society – where the ultra-rich are treated like royalty and the poor and vulnerable are treated like second-rate citizens. 

Land Of The Free

“America, land of the free, as long as you are rich enough to pay for it,” another user wrote in agreement. “This is honestly why I hope I don’t live past like 80.”

Public Housing

The debate raged on and the topic of discussion moved away from the ultra-rich and on to law enforcement. Most couldn’t get over how the officers had handled the 5-foot-tall, 100 pound elderly woman.

Abuse Of Power?

“Anyone need any more evidence that most police officers in this country are sociopaths and sadists? They put this extraordinarily elderly and helpless woman in handcuffs…because they enjoy causing pain,” one Redditor wrote. 

Action News Jax

But, while people pondered the problems in society and raged on Reddit, Juanita’s community decided to do something constructive to help her. 

The Community Comes Together

The disturbing footage of Juanita being arrested and the photos of her massive purple bruises went insanely viral and got attention worldwide. Soon, Franklin House’s page was inundated with bad reviews.

Google Reviews

Several people came forward to offer her donations, others offered to pay her $500 bond, and a few set up GoFundMe accounts to raise money for her so she can pay for a permanent residence. 

Fiercely Independent

Nicole Lett, who helped Juanita get out of jail and find lodgings in the motel, said that Juanita had always been “fiercely independent.” 

Madly Odd

“I just couldn’t let her stay in jail any longer,” Nicole said. “She’s 94 and she’s still feisty as ever… She doesn’t want peoples’ help, she wants to be on her own. But unfortunately, she needs the help right now because she doesn’t have anything anymore.”

Will She Accept Help?

“They’re going to Baker Act me!” exclaimed Juanita as she swatted her hands at her exasperated caseworkers while being interviewed. Erica Wilson, a homeless specialist for LifeStream who is trying to help Juanita, said: “Given her age, and her stress, we’re going to step back for a couple days.”

The Independent

In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.


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