2 Horry County deputies resign after writing ‘false, misleading’ statements on warrants, records show

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 2:05 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 4:50 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - A citizen complaint led to the resignations of two Horry County deputies.

Documents provided by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy show Sgt. William McMeins Jr. and Deputy Michael Bryant resigned in May for writing false or misleading statements on warrants before presenting them to a judge.

Records from SCCJA show McMeins was employed at J. Reuben Long Detention Center starting in April 2015.

Records detail his separation on May 20 from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office showing a “resignation involving misconduct.”

According to his separation paperwork, evidence showed that he typed up and presented a search warrant affidavit to a Horry County magistrate judge that contained “several misleading and incorrect statements within the warrant affidavit.” This was confirmed through incident reports, body camera video and statements provided by McMeins.

Deputy Michael Bryant had worked at the jail since February 2008, according to his SCCJA records.

His separation paperwork is similar to McMeins showing that it was filed on May 19 and the resignation was due to misconduct.

The documents state that Bryant presented several arrest warrants that contained “false, misleading and incorrect statements” before a Horry County magistrate judge in order to obtain arrest warrants for a person involved in a case. Officials confirmed the alleged wrongdoing through incident reports, body camera video and statements provided by Bryant as well.

There are no further details provided in the document as to what case these warrants were connected to or the date they were written.

The SCCJA also provided WMBF News with a copy of McMeins’ notification of intent to appeal the resignation, from McMeins’ attorney. As of now, the Justice Academy has not received an intent to appeal from Bryant.

The Horry County Sheriff’s Office explained the next step in the process is to have an administrative hearing to determine if McMeins gets to keep his law enforcement certification. The sheriff’s office will present its findings to the SCCJA, then that information is sent to the Law Enforcement Training Council who will then vote on whether McMeins will get to keep his certification.

The Horry County Sheriff’s Office also provided a statement below on the resignations:

The Horry County Sheriff’s Office and J. Reuben Long Detention Center work hard to uphold the public’s trust. After receiving a citizen complaint, 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.

Documents from the SCCJA show no criminal charges have been filed or are pending for McMeins or Bryant.

Chief Deputy Solicitor for the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Scott Hixson, sent the below letter to the sheriff’s office back in May explaining why no criminal will be filed against McMeins.

“Although the manner in which the subject conducted this search and documented his actions are under proper scrutiny here, your investigation supports the fact that the illegal weapons and drug related items were present in the vehicle and subject to an inventory search and the inevitable discovery doctrine,” the letter states.

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson also said that the deputies were not charged and will not be because “nothing rose to the level of criminal activity and they were never accused of planting anything.”

WMBF News also reached out to the lawyer representing William McMeins, Scott Hayes.

Hayes provided the following statement: “We unequivocally deny any misconduct. We look to clear Mr. McMeins name through all appropriate legal processes.”