A New Yorker who was protesting the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation could possibly lose her left arm after suffering a severe injury from a projectile launched by Morton County police, her family and friends indicate.
According to the New York Daily News, Bronx resident Sophia Wilansky, 21, is being treated at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. After the incident, she was airlifted nearly 400 miles to Minnesota, where she may need her arm to be amputated. Wilansky’s friend and fellow activist, Vaimoana Niumeitolu, said, “They’re trying to see if her arm can be saved.”
The Guardian reported that Wilansky was struck by a concussion grenade that was launched by police while she was passing out bottles of water to other activists. The “less-than-lethal” projectile explosive allegedly hit the activist when police were blasting protesters with a water cannon.
In a Facebook post after the horrifying injury, Wilansky wrote, “Friends, please know that I was severely, devastatingly injured by the pipeline pigs last night. I will be flying to Minnesota for that surgery imminently. Wish me luck.” Gruesome photos of the sustained injuries were circulated on social media and YouTube. Her skin was torn away, exposing bone.
Wayne Wilansky, the injured’s father, traveled to Minneapolis to be with his daughter during her surgeries. He said that much of her left arm had been “blown away.” Affected body parts included her arteries, median nerve, muscle, and bone in her left arm.
Her father hopes that she can live without pain and have 10 to 20 percent functionality, although the outlook isn’t good as she will need repeated surgeries over the next few days. He said, “She’s devastated. She looks at her arm and she cries.”
Some people on social media are touting the police brutality against the DAPL protesters as “war against your own country.”
Please help this woman who had her arm blown off by her own government (by OUR government, to be exact) https://t.co/novIIIyuEa— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) November 22, 2016
I want Obama to meet w the parents of Sophia Wilansky and explain what "letting things play out" means.#nodapl— Ric Hudgens (@rdhudgens) November 22, 2016
The local police tell a conflicting story, however. Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier allegedly said that the concussion grenade did not come from law enforcement. “We don’t know where it came from,” Kirchmeier said at a press conference on Monday.
A fundraising page has been created for Wilansky’s bills. The GoFundMe page raised almost $177,000 in its first 16 hours of being live.
Riot police must be held accountable for their actions. Whoever threw the concussion grenade which nearly blew off Wilansky’s arm should be identified by the Morton County police department, not protected.
The person who blew up Sophia Wilansky's hand & arm with a concussion grenade has a name. They are law enforcement who are brutalizing— Chase Iron Eyes (@ChaseIronEyes) November 22, 2016
Banner photo credit: Twitter, @MikeHudema