Medical Examiner Who Called George Zimmerman's Injuries 'So Minor' Has 'History Of Complaints'

Valerie RaoJacksonville medical examiner Valerie Rao is quizzed by defence attorney Mark O’Mara as she testifies in George Zimmerman’s second degree murder trial in Seminole circuit court in Sanford, Florida, July 2, 2013.

A medical examiner who testified for the prosecution in the George Zimmerman trial has been the subject of complaints from employees going back to 2009, The Florida Times-Union reports.

Valerie Rao told a court this week that Zimmerman’s head injuries were “so minor,” which could undermine his claims that he shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin because he feared for his life.

On Thursday, the Times-Union reported that there’s a “history of complaints” related to Rao’s work as a medical examiner that go back to 2009 but became more frequent in 20011 and 2012.

Here’s the paper’s characterization of the complaints from employees who worked with her:

Most centre around insensitive, even racially tinged, remarks made to workers in the office, but also include concerns about Rao’s failure to follow appropriate safety procedures. One employee saw Rao touching cadavers with her bare hands, which could lead to cross-contamination and disease exposure. posted an article that also detailed complaints against Rao on June 19, almost two weeks before she took the stand in Zimmerman’s trial. That article cited allegations that Rao performed unnecessary autopsies to create revenue and classifed most prison deaths as homicides.

Despite these complaints, state prosecutors seem confident in her abilities, the Times-Union reports, noting that Rao had recently been called in the Zimmerman trial.

Mike Williams, director of Investigations and Homeland Security for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office issued this statement, according to the Times-Union: “While we have no serious issues with the ME’s Office, when we do have an issue, such as delayed cases, we’ve sat down with them and worked it out.”

We reached out to Rao to give her a chance to comment and will update this post if she responds.

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