Two Horry County Sheriff’s Office deputies resigned in May after internal investigations found both of them made false statements under oath to obtain warrants, according to records from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
Sgt. William McMeins Jr. had worked at the jail since April 2015 and left the department on May 20, records show. Michael Bryant had worked at the jail since February 2008 and left May 19, according to the records.
The criminal justice records show that McMeins “knowingly and willingly typed up and presented a search warrant affidavit before a Horry County Magistrate Judge which contained several misleading and incorrect statements within the warrant affidavit,” the criminal justice records said. “These facts are evidenced by departmental incident reports, departmental body worn camera footage, a copy of the aforementioned search warrant and statements provided by McMeins during an HCSO OPS Interview.”
The records state Bryant “knowingly and willingly presented several arrest warrant affidavits which contained false, misleading and incorrect statements before a Horry County Magistrate Judge to obtain arrest warrants for an individual involved in this case,” the records said. “These facts are evidenced by departmental reports, copies of the arrest warrants, departmental body worn camera footage, emails and statements provided by Bryant during an HCSO OPS Interview.”
The records do not provide details about what McMeins and Bryant presented nor specific information about the warrants.
Neither Bryant nor McMeins faced any criminal charges from the misconduct, the criminal justice academy records said.
In 2019, records show, McMeins faced a written reprimand for conduct unbecoming of an officer after he “exhibited inappropriate behavior” toward an “employee at the Conway Magistrate’s Office.”
In a statement, HCSO spokeswoman Brennan Cavanagh said in an emailed statement that the department works hard to uphold the public trust, and that the investigation was started after a citizen complaint.
After receiving the complaint, she wrote, "we conducted a thorough investigation into two former officers. Our investigators reviewed incident reports, hundreds of emails, recorded interviews, and body camera footage. Ultimately, we concluded that these two officers did not uphold our strict policy of truthfulness. The actions of McMeins and Bryant are not representative of the training and service we provide to Horry County Citizens. Both officers resigned as a result of this investigation and we reported their misconduct to the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy for further action."
Cavanagh added that the department would not release details from the internal investigation. She said McMeins had filed an appeal with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in an effort to keep his certification. She didn't know if Bryant had filed an appeal or not.
"We are preparing for an administrative hearing," Cavanagh said. "This hearing is similar to a court hearing, with legal counsel present. It will ultimately determine if the officer gets to keep his certification."