Eustis police say they arrested her for trespassing after the Franklin House facility in which she lived reported that she has refused to pay rent for the past three months. After living there since April 2011, Fitzgerald reportedly told the facility she was holding back the rent because she expected to die soon, Karen Twinem, VP of Communications and Public Relations at National Church Residences, told News 6.
Fitzgerald was warned she'd be arrested if she didn't leave but allegedly told officers, "Unless you carry me out of here, I'm not going anywhere".
Juanita Fitzgerald, 93, was taken to the Lake County Jail Wednesday, just days before her 94th birthday. She was released Thursday on her own recognizance, according to WKMG.
Officers did escort her out safely without handcuffs but a WKMG reporter interviewed her at the jail said she observed bruises on her arms and handcuffs around her wrists. Once outside, Fitzgerald is seen struggling with officers as she sits on the ground, before she's placed in the back of a police vehicle.
In the video, Fitzgerald is seen falling out of her walker, but the arrest affidavit claims that she "intentionally slid out of her chair".
When Eustis police officers arrived at the Franklin House, located at 2400 Kurt St., they met with Lake County deputies inside the front lobby and Fitzgerald was there, according to court papers. Moments later, a woman says "I want her to go in my vehicle - I would love for her to go in my auto". I don't want them to help me.
Fitzgerald denied the allegations that she didn't pay rent because she believed she would die soon and said, "I don't have anybody".
She claims she tried to pay rent in October but was refused. I don't need no help.
"I'm a born-again Christian and I'm spirit-filled", she told WJAX-TV, adding that she'd prefer to return to Franklin House. She also noted that National Church Residences owns 340 properties. With their hands around her arms, the officers assure her they are applying no pressure, as she is heard screaming that she is in pain.