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Federal authorities have launched an investigation into possible civil rights violations by a Deptford police officer who fatally shot a suspected shoplifter who authorities allege aggressively drove toward him as she attempted to flee.

The review comes nearly five months after a grand jury in Gloucester County declined to recommend charges against Sgt. Kevin Clements in the death of LaShanda Anderson in the June 9 confrontation outside the Marshalls store at Deptford Crossing.

In a March 15 letter, Paul Colangelo, first assistant county prosecutor, advised that “the Federal Government is reviewing my office’s investigation to determine if Sgt. Clements committed … civil rights violations [in the shooting that killed Ms. Anderson].”  

County Prosecutor Charles Fiore and federal authorities declined comment, and Deptford Police Chief Kevin Pancoast did not respond to messages.

“I’m hoping that the federal authorities will conduct a thorough review,” said Stanley King, a civil rights lawyer who represents Anderson’s family. “I have no doubt that the versions of the events presented to the grand jury were, at best, inaccurate.”

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