Content warning: The following story contains descriptions and pictures of alleged domestic violence.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -– A woman has filed a civil lawsuit against Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, alleging he physically abused her in a November 2020 incident at his home in Minnesota.
Gracelyn Trimble, Cook’s ex-girlfriend, filed the lawsuit in Dakota County Tuesday. In it she alleges previous instances of “aggressive behavior and proclivity towards violence” toward her, but the suit focuses on a November 2020 incident in which Trimble flew to Minnesota from Florida after learning of alleged infidelity by Cook.
In response, Cook’s attorney David Valentini said in a statement that Trimble, a U.S. Army sergeant, is “attempting to extort him for millions of dollars” and alleges she broke into Cook’s home, assaulted him and two houseguests, and held them hostage at gunpoint for hours. Neither Cook nor Trimble has been charged with a crime.
Cook spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m the victim in this situation,” he said. “The truth and the details about the situation will come out at a further time.”
Sources tell WCCO that attorneys for both parties could have settled the matter Tuesday afternoon, but Cook backed out, saying the ex-girlfriend wanted millions, and he feels confident that his story of what unfolded will be corroborated.
Trimble’s suit alleges both Cook and his agent were aware she was planning to visit Minnesota, and she entered his Inver Grove Heights home using a garage door opener she had in her possession. She claims in her lawsuit that she kept mace in the garage because of “Cook’s past issues of aggression and violence,” and grabbed it before entering the home the night of Nov. 19, 2020.
A statement from Cook’s attorney alleges Trimble actually stole the garage door opener and entered the home “without the consent or knowledge” of Cook.
Trimble’s lawsuit claims Cook, who was at the home with his cousin and her boyfriend, became angry when Trimble asked for help gathering her possessions and that Cook threw her over the couch, “slamming her face into the coffee table and causing her lower forehead and the bridge of her nose to bust open and start gushing blood.”
The suit alleges several more instances of violence, saying Cook threw Trimble to the ground, pinned her down, punched and choked her, beat her with a broomstick and threatened her with a gun. She later got hold of the gun “for purposes of self-defense,” the suit states.
“Despite having been a soldier in active combat, where she had missiles and bullets fired at her, Trimble feared for her life like she had never before,” the suit states.
Cook’s attorney disputes Trimble’s account, instead alleging Trimble in November of 2020 “immediately, and without provocation, physically assaulted Mr. Cook, punched him repeatedly and maced Mr. Cook directly in the eyes and then maced his two houseguests.”
In Trimble’s suit, she alleges Cook “falsely imprisoned” her, keeping her in the house for several hours and not allowing her to seek medical attention. The suit states she “felt like she was dying.”
Cook’s attorney alleges Trimble “forced Mr. Cook and his guests, at gunpoint, to remain in his residence for the next several hours.”
Trimble said she later went back to Florida after the incident and eventually sought medical care. She suffered a concussion, several deep cuts and bruising, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit includes photos of the woman she says were taken after the attack, and a screenshot of messages Trimble claims she got from an Instagram account bearing Cook’s name.
“I know what I did can’t be rewind [sic] but I just want you to know I’m sorry,” a message in the screenshot states. “Whatever you need I’m here for you! And if you wanna go to the police I’ll respect that I’ll take my punishment for what I did!”
Another message seen in the screenshot said “the situation just got out of hand from the jump.” WCCO has not been able to confirm the messages were sent by Cook.
The statement from Cook’s attorney disputes Trimble’s allegations and says she was “emotionally abusive, physically aggressive and confrontational” to Cook.
Cook’s attorney also invokes Minnesota’s “castle doctrine,” a law allowing “reasonable force” to be used “by any person in lawful possession of real or personal property, or by another assisting the person in lawful possession, in resisting a trespass upon or other unlawful interference with such property,” according to state statute.
“We are confident a full disclosure of the facts will show Mr. Cook did nothing and any injury Sgt. Trimble may have sustained that evening was the results of Sgt. Trimble’s own unlawful conduct,” the attorney’s statement said.
After the violent encounter, Trimble and Cook reunited for six months, living together in his Fort Lauderdale home. The couple split permanently last May.
The police were never called during or after the November incident. However, records show that police were called to Cook’s home at last eight times for disturbing the peace in June and July of this year. WCCO reached out to Inver Grove Heights police and were told to submit a data request, which we have. They also said they could not comment further.
Neighbors WCCO spoke with off camera Wednesday were shocked by the allegations, saying Cook has been an ideal neighbor.
The Vikings said they are aware of “a situation that occurred between Dalvin and a female acquaintance in November 2020 and led to an ongoing dispute between the parties,” and that they are “in the process of gathering more information and will withhold further comment at this time.”
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Cook will practice Wednesday.
“Honestly, I don’t know that much about the situation,” Zimmer said. “What I was told was that the NFL said this is a — what do you call it? — civil matter, and it is what it is.”
Cook said he expects to play on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, but it’s possible he could be put on paid leave during the league’s investigation. WCCO reached out to the NFL, but have not heard back.
If you are in an abusive relationship and stuck at home with a dangerous partner, call 911 or The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. All calls are free and confidential.