Getting old is tough. It’s harder on our bodies and we tend to lose bits and pieces of our memories. Ninety-three-year-old Juanita Fitzgerald felt that she was going to die soon so she decided to stop paying rent to the Franklin House where she had resided since April of 2011. She never expected the management of the Franklin House to do what they did next: call the police.
When she stopped paying rent, it didn’t go over too well with the officials at the nursing home who claimed that they tried to contact the woman’s family members and even tried setting her up with homeless agencies but Juanita failed to help. A spokesperson from the home in Eustis, Florida said that Juanita had received fair warning and she was told that she was going to be evicted from the home.
The spokesperson confirmed that Juanita failed to abide and only responded with the following:
“Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere.”
And that is when the cops came in and had to handle things. In the video below you can see the police officers attemting to remove Juanita from the premises. At one point, she appears to fall out of her walker, however; the police say that she intentionally slid out. Juanita can be seen screaming as if she is being forced against her will. She even goes to the extent of accusing the officers of hurting her. The officers confirm vocally that they are just trying to help her, and they manage to finally get her into the back seat of the police car.
Juanita is currently being held on a $500 bond at a Florida prison. According to one reporter who visited her in jail, Juanita stated that she did not stop paying because she thought she was going to die and has stated that that is a lie.
“I don’t have anybody,” said Juanita. “My family is in Tennessee and I told them not to tell my son anything that’s going on … I don’t want them to help me. I don’t need no help.”
Juanita, who will be turning 94 soon, claims that she tried to pay rent in October, but the center had refused to take her money.
According to the spokeswoman at the Franklin House, this type of incident is extremely rare and they always try to find locations to place people. The Franklin House is owned by National Church Services, which is one of the 340 properties that they own.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding this video and some believe that the police were at fault, while others feel that they were doing their job…
“Refusing to sign the new lease. Refusing to pay rent for months. Went to court. Refused to get help for weeks to move. Refused to walk out on her own. Refused help from a nurse working there. Refused to have her two children called. Constant fighting with all her neighbors. Not signs of being feisty, signs of dementia starting.”
“As you feel bad for her and that is fine, remember to feel bad for all those that had to do their job. There was a good reason for them wanting her to have help or move to a care facility over the independent facility she was at.”
“There’s a special place in Hell for people that treat our elders like this and think that its OK. Of course, the people that think that it’s OK probably suffer from an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness and think that their mental state is OK when it really isn’t.”
“Ms. Fitzgerald is probably a senior living on a fixed income and came on hard times. I dealt with hard deal with seniors. When seniors run into issues like this, you call in a social worker from the local Department of Social Services office, not the cops. That’s what I did when my Grandmother couldn’t afford to pay everything out of her $900 a month Social Security check. The only bills she had were food, gas and electric, landline phone, water, and medical bill tabs that were not covered by Medicare. She cut off her basic cable and it still wasn’t enough because medical bills were eating her up and putting her deep in the red. She also owned her house. The social worker switched her over to Medicaid and that saved her and allowed her to get her basic digital cable turned back on, which allowed her to watch her favorite channel, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) again. Also, these cops should be fired for this.”
Do you think the officers are in the wrong, or are they just doing their job?