A Dakota Access Pipeline Protester Is Facing Arm Amputation After a Reported Explosion

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Sophia Wilansky.Photo: Courtesy of Facebook/Dee Nighthawk Robinson

On Sunday night, hundreds of people protesting the planned Dakota Access Pipeline were injured during a standoff with North Dakota law enforcement. Among them is Sophia Wilansky, a 21-year-old activist from New York City who is now facing the possibility of arm amputation after being hit by an explosive device, reportedly a police concussion grenade.

Photos of Sophia’s injury were posted to Facebook and showcase a grisly scene: She’s covered in blood and bone is visibly exposed. “The best-case scenario is no pain and 10-20% functionality,” her father, Wayne Wilansky, told The Guardian. She’s already received eight hours of surgery in Minneapolis and will need more. “She’s devastated. She looks at her arm and she cries,” he added.

“It wasn’t from our law enforcement, because we didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage to her arm,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Maxine Herr told the Los Angeles Times, though that’s been disputed by other activists, including the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council. In a statement, the Council says that the grenade pieces “have been removed from her arm in surgery and will be saved for legal proceedings.”

The police were also reported to have used rubber bullets, pepper spray, and water cannons (in below-freezing temperatures) against the protesters.

Hundreds Injured, Some Seriously, in Dakota Access Pipeline Protest