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Dakota Access pipeline protester may lose arm after explosion during police confrontation

23 November 2016

The father of a woman who was injured during a confrontation with police near the Dakota Access oil pipeline (DAPL) protest site near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota said on November 22 that she may lose her arm. Wayne Wilansky said during a press conference that his 21-year-old daughter Sophia was wounded by a police concussion grenade.

Stock image
Stock image

Concussion grenades are non-lethal devices that produce a blinding flash of light and loud sound, but police denied using concussion grenades at the site.

Sophia Wilansky is facing dozens of operations over several months but there is little guarantee her arm can be saved, her father said.

At a separate press conference in North Dakota on Tuesday, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said officers did not use any devices capable of causing such injuries. Kirchmeier said officers reported that there was an explosion in the area, but said they only used pepper spray and water hoses.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department suggested to the Los Angeles Times that Sophia Wilansky may have been injured by protesters “rigging up their own explosives,” though no one was arrested or charged with making or deploying explosives.

Wayne Wilansky denied the allegation that protesters had used explosives. He said doctors had removed shrapnel from her arm and that there was evidence that the authorities were throwing explosives at protesters.

The Standing Rock Sioux, other native American tribes and environmental groups oppose the 1,200-mile, four-state pipeline being built to carry oil from western North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois because they say it threatens drinking water on their nearby reservation and cultural sites.

Pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners has said no sites have been disturbed and that the $3.8 billion pipeline will be safe.

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