Chris Cook, Cornerback, Accused of Strangling His Girlfriend (Acquitted)

Dec 8 2015, 4:00pm

via USA Today Sports

Position: Cornerback
Height / Weight: 6'2" / 212 lbs
College: University of Virginia
NFL draft: 2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 34
Career history: Minnesota Vikings (2010–2013), San Francisco 49ers (2014)

In October 2011, Chris Cook was charged with felony domestic assault by strangulation and felony third-degree assault after an alleged fight with his girlfriend, Chantel Baker, at a residence in Eden Prairie, MN. According to the police report, on October 22, 2011, officers responded to a domestic assault complaint and found Baker sitting on the living room floor of the residence; according to the report, she "was crying, she was holding the right side of her head with her hand, and her nose was bleeding." She told officers that Cook had strangled her. According to the report, he threw her on the bed and "constricted her ability to breathe," and, after she broke free by pulling his hair, he struck her on the ear and "again inhibited [her] breathing by squeezing her neck with his hand." According to the report, "officers observed marks on [her] neck and hemorrhaging in [her] eye that is consistent with strangulation." Later it was revealed that she also suffered a perforated ear drum and lost hearing in one ear for two weeks. Cook was taken into custody and released on $40,000 bail.

On March 8, 2012, a police officer, an ER doctor, and a paramedic all testified that Baker had told them Cook choked her. Cook, however, testified that he had never choked Baker, and Baker testified that she had lied about Cook choking her because she was mad at him. On March 15, 2012, Cook was acquitted of all charges.

The Minnesota Vikings suspended Cook indefinitely without pay on October 25, 2011, three days after the alleged assault occurred. On March 24, 2012, the Vikings announced that Cook would be back on the team. "We are very excited about getting Chris Cook back, not only to help us on the football field, but we think Chris Cook is a very good person, and we really believe that he's moving on and going to be a better person," said Vikings general manager Rick Spielman. "Sometimes you have to go through some hard lessons to give you a wake-up call, if there was a wake-up call. But you go through some tough times sometimes, and sometimes coming out of those situations really makes you a stronger and better person."

Cook continued to play for the Vikings until he signed a one-year contract with the 49ers in March 2014. He was released from the 49ers in August 2015 due to injuries.

Cook did not return Broadly's request for comment.