Gun Safety Update

Remember the
gun safety video
that I posted a link to a couple of months ago? Well, the star of that clip, Drug Enforcement Administration officer Lee Paige, is now
suing his employer for letting the video get out.

Here are the important parts of the story, just in case the link doesn’t stay active for very long, which it may not since it goes to a newspaper website.

DEA agent who shot himself sues government

BY PEDRO RUZ GUTIERREZ

The Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two years ago, DEA Special Agent Lee Paige shot himself by accident while giving kids a talk on gun safety in Orlando.

Paige, a 16-year veteran, wounded his thigh with a .40-caliber Glock pistol after reassuring children and their parents that the weapon was not loaded.

Someone who captured the gaffe on a video camera submitted it to the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of an internal investigation. The video has since surfaced on the Internet and has been shown repeatedly on late-night national TV shows.

Paige now is suing the U.S. government, saying his agency failed to safeguard the video and leaked it intentionally, thereby violating his privacy.

“As a result of the disclosure … by the DEA, Mr. Paige became and is the target of jokes, derision, ridicule and disparaging comments,” Paige wrote in his lawsuit, which was filed in Washington’s federal court April 7.

Rogene Waite, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, would not address Paige’s complaint because she said Department of Justice guidelines prevent her from speaking about ongoing lawsuits.

Paige – who has been assigned to the DEA Orlando office since July 2003 – also says he has been unable to work undercover assignments as a result of the notoriety and he is barred from conducting speaking engagements.

Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show Friday morning, Paige said he had cleaned his gun but forgot to release the magazine.

“I was at the point of attempting to demonstrate how the gun could be disassembled and put back together,” Paige said. “It is something I had done hundreds of times throughout my career.”

Paige’s footage was shot on April 9, 2004, as part of “The Game of Life, The Game of Golf” presentation before the Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association.

Paige, who could not be reached for comment at his Windermere, Fla., home Friday afternoon, told “Today” that he is constantly recognized on the streets and when he travels as the officer who shot himself.

“It’s something I can’t get away from,” he said in reference to the video files circulating on the Internet. “It’s caused me a great deal of embarrassment and stress to me and my family.”

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