Yasmin Mullings, a Jamaican-born prosecutor who served in Minnesota’s Ramsey County Attorney’s Office as a strong advocate for victims of sexual assault, has passed away at age 56.
Mullings and her family migrated from Jamaica to New York when she was 12 years old. She attended Tuskegee University in Alabama for her undergraduate education and then Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University.
After she passed the New York state bar exam, she went on to hold positions at the Legal Aid Society and the Suffolk County Attorney’s Office in New York. She joined the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office in 2003, where she became an assistant Ramsey County attorney mainly specializing in sexual assault cases, as well as domestic violence and sex trafficking cases.
Those who worked with Mullings said her passion for her work on sexual assault cases set her apart. Despite health difficulties that required a heart transplant, colleagues and family members said she was always determined to get back in the courtroom and fight for what she believed in.
“She was focused, driven and outspoken,” Mullings’ older sister Grace Mullings said. “She spoke the truth clearly and simply and a lot of people aren’t used to that.”
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Ka Vang said Mullings was a source of support and always encouraged her if she doubted her abilities. “Because of her I am a better attorney. I will always remember her for her friendship and her love,” Vang said. “She was like a big sister to me.”
Vang said Mullings was truly passionate about trying sexual assault cases, which Vang said can be some of the toughest which the county attorney’s office prosecutes. “The ones that Yasmin tried were really the toughest ones where sometimes other attorneys thought there was no way she could win the case,” Vang said. “But through her hard work and diligence, she always found a way to be able to connect with the witnesses, the victims and the jurors.”
Mullings served as the prosecutor representing the county attorney’s office for a sexual assault case in 2015 in which Sarah Super, of Minneapolis, came forward publicly as the victim. Super said Mullings made her feel heard and supported as a sexual assault survivor throughout the legal process.
“Yasmin was a prosecutor who empowered me to walk into that courtroom with my head held high,” Super said. “She made me feel strong and brave and capable to survive and thrive in the aftermath of what happened to me.”
In 2015, Mullings became extremely sick with a virus. She later found out that she had developed cardiomyopathy from the virus, which causes the heart to have difficulty pumping blood and can lead to heart failure. She was told she would need a heart transplant.
Mullings was able to get a transplant from the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix in the summer of 2016 and with her determination, got back in the courtroom.
However, the heart Mullings had received was considered high risk as there wasn’t enough medical information on the donor. It later turned out that her new heart, which had come from a teenager, also had cardiomyopathy. Her health got worse, and doctors said that she would need another heart transplant. Mullings decided not to go forward with a second heart transplant.
“She felt that she had her own heart and been given a second chance,” said her sister, Grace Mullings. “She’d had a good life, got this gift and that was enough.”
Mullings went on medical leave in the fall of 2018 and moved to Texas to live with her sister. She died late Sunday afternoon on January 17th. In addition to her sister, Mullings is survived by her mother and older brother. A small funeral service will be held in Texas.
Her colleagues said her passion to help sexual assault victims will continue to live on in the county attorney’s office.
“I think her lasting legacy within our office, really, is that we all need to strive to do our best to serve victims the best possible way we can and to fight the fight when the fight is needed,” said Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Karen Kugler. “Her spirit continues on … she’ll always be there for sure.”
Source: Twin-Cities Pioneer Press