Topic: Indigenous

Father of severely injured woman condemns behaviour of authorities in North Dakota

By Taiha Molyneux

The father of a woman severely injured in a confrontation between armed authorities and people in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline says if the violent behaviour of authorities isn’t stopped “people will die.”

Wayne Wilanski told a press conference in Minneapolis today his daughter Sophia may very likely lose an arm after allegedly being hit by a concussion grenade they claim was thrown by police.

The Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council says 21 year old Sophia Wilansky suffered severe injuries on her left arm after they claim a concussion grenade was thrown at her and exploded.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department which turned powerful fire hoses on protestors in freezing conditions claims the woman was injured by a purported propane explosion made by those in opposition to the pipeline.

These statements have been refuted by Ms Wilansky and her father vehemently denied this, “My daughter who was completely conscious saw them throw a grenade right at her, there is no question as to what happened we have witnesses.”

Mr Wilanski said, “The force of the explosion blew the bone out of her arm and all of the arteries and all of the mussels it was caused by a grenade not a fire.”

The Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council says there was a “lack of charring of flesh at the wound site and grenade pieces have been removed from her arm in surgery and will be saved for legal proceedings.”

Sophia’s father says she will have surgery again tomorrow as “bit by bit they try to rebuild a somewhat functioning arm and hand. The first surgery took a vein from her leg which they have implanted in her arm to take the place of the missing arteries. She will need multiple surgeries to try to gain some functional use of the arm and hand.”

Sophia Wilansky has been at the Standing Rock Camp in support of those opposing the pipeline for around three weeks and witnesses say she was hit by the explosive device as she attempted to take water to unarmed people near the cordon.

Her father has pleaded with President Barrack Obama and his administration to step in and end the pipeline and violence those opposing it have had to endure.

Senator Al Franklin has also urged the Department of Justice to take action to protect the safety and First Amendment rights of Dakota Access Pipeline protestors.

Very graphic pictures of the damage to Sophia's arm have circulated online and will be used in legal action the family intends to take against authorities.