Remember Sophia Wilansky, the protester whose arm was nearly blown off by law enforcement at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL)? She’s still recovering from what was, in all likelihood, a “less than lethal” grenade that exploded on her arm after it was fired by militarized law enforcement at Standing Rock, North Dakota — the site of DAPL protests.
On Wednesday, she posted an update about her injury. Though early reports suggested Sophia risked losing her arm to amputation, fortunately, that speculation turned out to be untrue. However, her current condition does not appear to be much better. Below is her full, unedited update, posted several hours ago on Facebook:
CONTENT WARNING: GRAPHIC post-surgical photo of traumatic arm injury.
Update: This is what my arm looks like as of Tuesday 12/13/16, 22 days after law enforcement on highway 1806 hit it with a (“LESS-LETHAL”) grenade which exploded on contact, and 3 days after I was finally discharged from the hospital. The black rods are an external fixator (ex-fix) which is screwed into my bones to hold them in place; the bone is fractured and a piece is missing. I lost both arteries in my arm and one was replaced with a vein taken from my left leg; I am about to stop taking blood thinner shots but I will have to take aspirin for the rest of my life because a blood clot in the vein-turned-artery would make me lose the arm. Next, my arm was stuffed with a large piece of my lat muscle; I still have a device draining fluids from inside my back where the muscle was taken from. Finally, my arm was covered with a large skin graft taken from my right thigh. All of this skin will take at least a year to look relatively normal. In the bottom left corner of this photo you can see the bullet wound from where I was shot right before I was hit with the grenade.
Full public statement coming soon.
You can contribute to Sophia’s medical fund here.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Department, which is overseeing operations at Standing Rock, claimed Sophia actually did this to herself, suggesting her injury resulted from an exploded propane tank protesters allegedly attempted to use against officers. However, a witness to the incident has claimed police were responsible for her injury. Wilansky’s father has also openly disputed law enforcement’s version of events, noting that surgeons told him the injury was consistent with a grenade explosion.
Sophia Wilansky was not the only individual injured by law enforcement on the night of November 20th, 2016. In fact, at least 300 injuries reportedly occurred that night and the following morning, due in large part to law enforcement’s use of water cannons against peaceful protesters in sub-freezing temperatures.
While hundreds of “water protectors” and journalists have been arrested and face charges that carry up to 45 years in prison, it appears no law enforcement officers — including the one who blew up Sophia’s arm — have been held accountable for turning Standing Rock into what many have described as a war zone.