City Of Fond du Lac Releases Ledger Report; Paints Unfavorable Picture Of Former City Detective

A 60-page document released by the City of Fond du Lac, detailing information pulled from the Department of Justice working with the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation, paints former City of Fond du Lac Police Department Detective William Ledger in a very unfavorable light.

Ledger had been on paid Administrative Leave since August of 2020 and was under a criminal investigation, led by DCI. In addition to the review administered by DCI, the Fond du Lac County DA’s office filed in camera inspections motions in each case that Detective Ledger may be a witness based on racial bias concerns learned by the FDL County DA’s office.

KFIZ News received copies of the heavily-redacted document, which also included a lengthy cover letter from FDL County District Attorney Eric Toney, dated September 10, 2021 and sent to Fond du Lac Police Chief Aaron Goldstein.

In the letter, D.A. Toney states, “DCI provided the Fond du Lac District Attorney’s Office a complete copy of their investigation at the conclusion of the criminal investigation, separate from the sealed documents provided by the courts.”

Toney continues in the letter saying, “The information reviewed includes instances of mishandling of evidence, racial bias, alleged theft, sexist and homophobic memes. Based upon this review, it has been determined that portions of these materials present significant hurdles in using Detective Ledger as a witness, especially in circumstances in which his testimony is not corroborated.”

In the document, the Outagamie County District Attorney’s Office specifically noted numerous Brady/Giglio issues involving Ledger, which included:

  • The release of confidential law enforcement information which showed very poor judgement but was not considered criminal. Ledger had shared information with a local defense attorney who also was a friend of Ledger’s, regarding a shooting incident in Fond du Lac from May of 2020. A supervisor ordered Ledger to arrest the suspect, but Ledger was reluctant to do so, as he(Ledger) in doing so could impair his “street credibility” and believed the defendant had a “self-defense” defense. The defendant in the case was later convicted of 3 felonies and received a 10-year prison sentence. Ledger also had a separate meeting with a presiding judge in the Riddle case, and appears to have given the judge his personal opinion regarding the case, and was perceived as an attempt to “torpedo” the prosecution.
  • Detective Ledger was also involved with missing or destroyed evidence regarding the Berit Beck homicide case, Ledger appeared to have discussed the matter, again with the same defense attorney as the Riddle case. But in testimony on May 16, 2016, the defense attorney could not recall who gave him the information. According to the report from DCI, “Detective Ledger never shared this information with the prosecutors or informed them he shared information with the defense attorney. Numerous messages and emails between Ledger and two other detectives make it clear Ledger was a source of some of the information regarding missing or destroyed evidence, even though the case was not within his jurisdiction and potentially damaging to the prosecution of the case.
  • Ledger also allegedly improperly disposed of evidence from a Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan Law Enforcement-Drug Unit, removing hard drives from two computers and giving the computers to a friend of his who owned a computer store. Ledger even informed the computer store owner that he could sell the computer equipment and keep any money that was collected on the sale. The report says there were hundreds of text messages between Ledger and the owner of the computer store over the course of several years. Ledger had also provided confidential law enforcement information to the computer store owner. The report states, “Due to the improper handling of the inventory, a theft could not proven in the case, reflected dishonesty on the part of Ledger, and the dishonesty in covering up the actions resulted in an inability to prosecute the case.”
  • The 60-page report also shows that on more than a dozen occasions, based on text messages from his phone, Ledger ran license plates and information on private individuals at the request of his brother-in-law and others, for personal reasons.

The report shows that Ledger displayed numerous instances of dishonesty and bias, “that would need to be disclosed should he be called on to testify.” In a June 1, 2016 text, sent to the defense attorney, Ledger states, “Two reasons I would not interview a witness. 1 they have no information or 2 I don’t want to hear what their answer is because it hurts my case”

The document includes examples of potentially racist, sexist and homophobic texts and memes that were found on Department-issued cell phones. There were texts that appear threatening to individuals and “may imply he would use his position as a law enforcement officer to get even, collect money, or harass individuals.”

In one exchange dated 3/23/2018, Ledger sends a message to a subject referred to as “Jake” and Ledger asks the question “so to get out of one felony theft by fraud charge you commit another felony forgery? …are you just begging me to have to your probation officer revoke you?”

In a text conversation the same day, to a person only identified as A.G., Ledger asks, “Is your nephew Jake not all there upstairs? To pay me back he wrote a bad check on a bad account. He’s paying off one felony with a second? I did him a favor and didn’t have (him) arrested in the first place and I’m not sure if he really understands I’m probably not the person he wants to try to mess with?”

Ledger then continues on in another text saying, “I think my not-so-nice text message to Jake must have scared him. He just called me said Angie’s going to give me cash when she gets done with work.”

District Attorney Toney points to another text exchange of July 31, 2019, where it appears Ledger is racially profiling, telling a City of Fond du Lac Police Department Street Crimes officer he is watching a “Tall black Male, 6’2…” and then continues the text by saying “Lots of guys I’d be shagging down…” The other officer responds “I like to focus on those I know for sure are actually drug dealers.” The texting continues regarding police practices and Detective Ledger concludes, “I’ll take old school tactics over whatever you call it nowadays. Come play and learn from Obi One”

In another series of text messages, between Ledger and a former detective with the department, Ledger states “Remind him WE decide when something becomes evidence. I can pull all three items today. No requirement for the recorded interview he wasn’t in custody. As for the plea, I will just print them on the printer and attach with the routing slip. I will pull them off the investigator’s drive this morning and delete them. There problem solved.”

Toney continues his letter, by saying “it is without a doubt that Detective Ledger’s credibility will be attacked in any testimony he is asked to provide and may present significant hurdles in the open Fond du Lac County cases involving Detective Ledger, including a child homicide, especially those cases in which Detective Ledger’s testimony cannot be corroborated.”

District Attorney concludes his letter stating, “I hoped my tenure as District Attorney would never include a letter such as this because behavior exhibited is inconsistent with the overwhelming majority of the incredible law enforcement officers I have had the privilege to work alongside and meet, however, based on the totality of circumstances, the Fond du Lac County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute any future cases involving Detective Ledger as a witness. This is a necessary step to preserve the integrity of the criminal justice system, ensure that victim rights are protected, and that the Constitutional rights of the accused are protected.”

The DCI report includes in its investigation a listing of an “Advanced Logic” report that was extracted from Detective Ledger’s cell phone. The information included 4,619 pages of data. Those pages, containing detailed information between March of 2019 and August of 2020, showed 5,837 MMS messages, 22,135 SSM messages, 110 audio files, 8,220 images, 17 documents, and 68 videos.

The 60-page report shows a consistent track record by Ledger of poor judgement, questionable comments, threatening texts and posts, and behavior not becoming a Detective within the City of Fond du Lac Police Department.

It also appears that there was not enough evidence to warrant placing Ledger under arrest, or that the evidence would not be enough to prosecute him if the case made it to court.

But a number of questions stick out when reading through the complete 60-page document:

1.) Why was Detective Ledger allowed to continue his practices for nearly a decade?

2.) Why didn’t Detective Ledger ever receive any serious punishment prior to being placed on paid administrative leave?

3.) What separation agreement, if any, was agreed to by the City of Fond du Lac and Detective Ledger prior to Ledger leaving the department September 15, 2021?

4.) And if there was an agreement made, are City of Fond du Lac taxpayers funding that, or would any financial agreement be paid from a separate fund not tied to taxes?

The case may be closed, but the stories, as contained in the 60-page document, are far from over.