A 21-year-old woman protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline may lose her arm after sustaining an injury that her father claims was caused by an exploding concussion grenade deployed by police.
Sophia Wilansky is one of many protesters injured on Sunday during a standoff with police that occurred at a bridge near the site that the 1,200 mile pipeline is planned to cross under the Missouri River, The Guardian reported.
Wayne Wilansky, Sophia’s father, said the injury was caused by an exploding concussion grenade thrown by law enforcement. Police have used many forms of “less-than-lethal” weapons to deter the protesters such as teargas, rubber bullets and a water cannon.
Wayne said his daughter may need as many as 20 surgeries in order to save her arm.
“The best-case scenario is no pain and 10-20% functionality,” Wayne said. “She’s devastated. She looks at her arm and she cries,” he said.
The Guardian reported that North Dakota law enforcement officers have countered Wilansky’s account, releasing multiple statements accusing protesters of setting off an explosion, and that her injuries may have been from a propane bomb the protesters set off.
Lieutenant Tom Iverson of the North Dakota highway patrol said that two men and a woman were standing near a burned vehicle on the bridge around 3am when “it became obvious that they were tampering with the vehicle or planting a device”. The highway patrol said the explosion occurred after other protesters rolled “metallic cylinder objects” toward the three near the car, and that the female protester was pulled from under the vehicle before the group “fled the scene”.
The highway patrol also released photographs of propane cylinders recovered from the scene of the confrontation, which they said were being used as explosives.
An aerial video taken by drone can be seen below:
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