Pipeline Protester May Need Arm Amputated

Protesters blame cops for Sophia Wilansky's injury, but cops blame protesters
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2016 5:45 PM CST
Sophia Wilansky, 21, may lose her arm after her father says police hit her with a concussion grenade while she protested the Dakota Access pipeline Sunday in North Dakota.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – A 21-year-old woman may lose her arm after her father and fellow activists say she was hit with a concussion grenade thrown by police during a Dakota Access pipeline protest Sunday in North Dakota, the Guardian reports. Police, however, deny using such grenades and blame protesters for the injury. According to the New York Daily News, Sophia Wilansky of New York has been in North Dakota protesting for three weeks. Her father, Wayne Wilansky, says on Sunday police shot her with rubber bullets, then hit her with a concussion grenade, leaving a good portion of her arm "blown away." “In America she’s hit with a grenade. She’s not in Iraq or Afghanistan," Wayne Wilansky tells the Daily News.

He says the "best-case scenario" for his daughter is that she regains 10% to 20% use of her arm, but that amputation is also a possibility. While police used "less-than-lethal" weapons on protesters Sunday—including a water cannon in freezing temperatures—a sheriff's department spokesperson tells the Los Angeles Times they didn't use concussion grenades. "We didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage to her arm,” says the spokesperson, adding that Wilansky may have been hurt while protesters were "rigging up their own explosives" using propane bottles. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $286,000 for Wilansky's medical bills. (A woman was hit with rubber bullets while filming an interview at the protest site.)

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