DAPL water protector might lose arm after being shot with a concussion grenade

26 protesters were taken to the hospital following Sunday’s confrontation.


Sophia Wilansky, a 21-year-old from New York who has been participating in the peaceful protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, is seriously injured and may lose her left arm.

Wilansky was handing out bottles of water to fellow protesters during the clash with police over the weekend. According to reports she was shot with a concussion grenade by authorities. 

Sophia’s father, Wayne Wilansky, says of her arm, “The best-case scenario is no pain and 10-20% functionality.” Mr. Wilansky reported that his daughter was hit with a concussion grenade that caused the arteries, median nerve, muscle and bone in her left arm to be “blown away.”

Hundreds of protesters were injured over the weekend when police used water canons, rubber bullets and concussion grenades against them in freezing cold temperatures. The water protectors were attempting to remove burned vehicles that authorities had chained to create a barrier on the highway nearest the main camp. The barrier has been causing problems for emergency vehicles and personnel to gain access to the Sacred Stone camp.

26 protesters were taken to the hospital following Sunday’s confrontation. According to the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council, the injured include:

• An elder who lost consciousness and was revived on scene

• A young man with a grand mal seizure

• A woman shot in the face by a rubber bullet with subsequent eye injury and compromised vision

• A young man with internal bleeding who was vomiting blood after a rubber bullet injury to his abdomen

• A man shot in the back near his spine by a rubber bullet causing blunt force trauma and a severe head laceration

• Multiple fractures secondary to projectiles fired by police

Spokeswoman Maxine Herr of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department denies that authorities used concussion grenades or anything else that could have caused Sophia’s injuries: 

“It wasn’t from our law enforcement, because we didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage to her arm.”

Herr insists that the “only explosion the officers heard was on the protesters’ side.”

But the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council disagree, citing eye-witness accounts of police throwing concussion grenades, along with “the lack of charring of flesh at the wound site” and “grenade pieces that have been removed from her arm in surgery and will be saved for legal proceedings.”

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