The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced Thursday that a police officer in Atlantic Beach, SC was arrested by U.S. Marshalls for illegal sexual activities involving minors.
Twenty-eight-year-old Akiel McKnight of the Atlantic Beach Police Department was charged with misconduct in office, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of criminal solicitation of a minor, according to state law enforcement.
Warrants say Mcknight asked a child to send sexually explicit photos and/or videos. Warrants also say Mcknight is accused of buying or selling sexually explicit images of a minor, Live 5 News reports. The alleged crimes occurred in Pickens County between October of 2017 and November of 2018. McKnight tried to contact a minor to engage in sexual activity, warrants go on to say that McKnight specifically communicated with a high school student in a sexual nature.
A release from the Atlantic Beach Police Department says McKnight was brought on at a probationary level on December 13, 2018 and he was terminated from his position Thursday afternoon after the department reviewed SLED's report.
In a press release on Thursday, the Town of Atlantic Beach said:
“After receiving and reviewing a thorough report from SLED, the Town of Atlantic Beach is justified in terminating Akiel Mcknight from his probationary period with our Police Department. Mcknight’s termination is effectively immediately this 3rd day of January, 2019 at approximately 2:00 p.m.”
McKnight passed all required background checks and had a clean record with the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
McKnight previously worked for the Pickens Police Department, the Georgetown Police Department and the Andrews Police Department. SLED says the Pickens Police Department requested the investigation after terminating McKnight.
Booking information from the J Reuben Long Detention Center says McKnight was booked in Horry County on Tuesday at 7:43 p.m. after being arrested by US Marshals.