DEA Agent Who Shot Self In Foot Sues U.S.
Seeks damages for distribution of humiliating gun accident video
APRIL 11–A Drug Enforcement Administration agent who stars in a popular online video that shows him shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children is suing over the tape’s release, claiming that his career has been crippled and he’s become a laughingstock due to the embarrassing clip’s distribution. Lee Paige, 45, blames the video’s release on DEA officials in an April 7 federal lawsuit filed against the U.S. government. A copy of the pro se complaint by Paige, a DEA agent since 1990, can be found below. According to the lawsuit, Paige was making a "drug education presentation" in April 2004 to a Florida youth group when his firearm (a Glock .40) accidentally discharged. The shooting occurred moments after Paige told the children that he was the only person in the room professional enough to carry the weapon. The accident was filmed by an audience member, and the tape, Paige claims, was turned over to the DEA. The drug agency subsequently "improperly, illegally, willfully and/or intentionally" allowed the tape to be disseminated. As a result, Paige–pictured above in a still from the video–has been the "target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments" directed at him in restaurants, grocery stores, and airports. Paige, who writes that he was "once regarded as one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA," points to the clip’s recent airing on popular television shows and via the Internet as the reason he can no longer work undercover. He also notes that he is no longer "permitted or able to give educational motivational speeches and presentations."