Ex-SC police officer threatened to post sexually explicit images to get more, SLED says

A former Cheraw police officer was charged with a sex crime, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said.

McBee resident Justin Brian McKenzie, 40, was arrested and charged Thursday with felony sexual extortion and misconduct in office, SLED said in a news release. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a law that makes sexual extortion a crime in August 2023.

McKenzie was previously an officer with the Cheraw Police Department, and Chief Julius Riley requested that SLED lead an investigation, according to the release. Cheraw is in Chesterfield County near the North Carolina state line.

The crimes were committed between Feb. 2-7, according to arrest warrants.

While hiding his identity, McKenzie sent text messages to the victim threatening to publish private, sexually explicit pictures of the victim on social media, arrest warrants show.

In fear of having the pictures posted online, the victim “was compelled to create and provide McKenzie with additional sexually explicit photographs and videos,” the arrest warrants said.

McKenzie was charged after SLED investigators received statements from the victim and saw the text messages as well as electronic communication records, according to the arrest warrants.

McKenzie was booked at the Chesterfield County Detention Center, SLED said. Bond was set at $10,000 on the combined charges and posted Thursday, Chesterfield County court records show.

The case will be prosecuted by the 4th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, according to the release.

If convicted on the felony sexual extortion charge (first offense), McKenzie faces a maximum punishment of five years in prison, according to South Carolina law. A conviction on the misconduct in office charge could mean a maximum punishment of one year behind bars and a $1,000 fine, South Carolina law says.