Society

DAPL Protester Could Lose Arm, Police Grenade Blamed

| by Michael Allen

One of the protestors demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline may have her arm amputated because she was reportedly hit by a police concussion grenade on Nov. 20 near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Dallas Goldtooth, one of the Native-American leaders of the protest, wrote on Facebook on Nov. 21:

Confirmed. A water protector sustained a critical injury last night and is now facing a possible amputation of her arm. Her name is Sophia Wilansky. She is currently at a Minneapolis hospital. Sophia was struck directly by a concussion grenade last night on the front lines of back water Bridge.

GoFundMe page, set up to raise money for Sophie's medical bills, states: "As of last night, we found out she was air lifted to County Medical Center in Minneapolis were she’s currently undergoing extensive, hours-long surgery from injuries sustained from the blast."

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Sophie's dad, Wayne Wilansky, said on Nov. 22 that his daughter may have to undergo 20 or more surgeries to save her arm, which was damaged by a concussion grenade thrown by police, according to RT.com.

"This is not Afghanistan, this is not Iraq… we don’t throw grenades at people," Wayne stated. "Even President Obama, who I love, said 3 weeks ago, 'We’ll wait and see.' What is there to wait and see? People will die if the situation isn’t stopped."

Morton County Sheriff's Department spokesman Maxine Herr told the Los Angeles Times: "It wasn’t from our law enforcement, because we didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage to her arm. We’re not sure how her injury was sustained."

Herr suggested that the DAPL demonstrators were "rigging up their own explosives" to throw at officers, and said that "the only explosion the officers heard was on the protesters' side."

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However, several eyewitnesses, including Whitney Rencountre (who posted graphic pictures of Sophie's injuries on Facebook), have confirmed that law enforcement did use concussion grenades.

According to protesters, more than 200 people suffered hypothermia after the sheriff's department sprayed them with water in sub-freezing temperatures, and 26 people (including Sophie) had to be hospitalized.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, RT.com, GoFundMe / Photo Credit: Whitney Rencountre/Facebook

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