Target Friday released a statement expressing sympathy for the mother of a former cashier at the retail chain’s Pasadena store who sued alleging her son committed suicide because he was forced to take part in a humiliating disciplinary event in front of co-workers and customers.

“Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the friends and family of this individual,” Target spokesman Evan Lapiska said in response to Virginia Gentles’ lawsuit. “As this is pending litigation, we don’t have further comment at this time.”

The plaintiff, the mother of 22-year-old Graham A. Gentles, filed the suit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Her son jumped to his death from the roof of the Courtyard Marriott in Monrovia on July 18, three days after he was required by Target management to take part in what the suit calls a “walk of shame.”

According to the complaint, police and store security met Graham Gentles immediately as he arrived for work. At the direction of two members of the store management, he was handcuffed and led before other store employees to an office, the suit states.

“Mr. Gentles was shocked, confused and mortified at being handcuffed and walked through the Target store in front of co-workers and customers,” the suit states. “Mr. Gentles had no idea why he was being arrested.”

He was questioned in the office, then later taken to the police station, the suit states. However, he was later released and never charged with any crime, according to the complaint.

The suit alleges the actions by the two Target managers were part of a company practice that other employees had also experienced.

“The walk of shame is a Target policy to purposely cause shame, embarrassment and emotional distress to any Target employee who is suspected of stealing from Target,” the suit states. “The policy consists of employees being arrested and paraded in handcuffs through the Target store in full view of co-workers and customers.”

However, the suit alleges that Graham Gentles’ involvement in a “verbal altercation” with another Target worker at a bar outside of work hours several months before the handcuffing incident may have prompted management to subject him to the  “walk of shame,” the suit states.

Gentles, who suffered suffered from Asperger’s syndrome, was a loyal employee who always arrived early to his job, the suit states.

The suit alleges that Graham Gentles’ suicide was directly related to his treatment by Target management.

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