Every time 21-year old Sophia Wilansky looks at her arm, she cries.
The Dakota Access Pipeline demonstrator was ambushed by a concussion grenade used by law enforcement officers at the protest site with such force that the arteries, median nerve, muscle and bone in her left arm were “blown away.”
“The best-case scenario is no pain and 10-20 percent functionality,” said Wayne Wilansky, Sophia’s father, who traveled to the Minneapolis hospital where his daughter underwent eight hours of surgery on Monday.
She was one of 26 people seriously injured when police violently cracked down on protesters Sunday night, sending some 200 people to be treated for hypothermia after the Sheriff's Department deployed a water cannon in below-freezing temperatures.
Fellow protester Dallas Goldtooth identified Wilansky, saying she was “struck directly by a concussion grenade” during the Sunday protest on a bridge near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
An image showing her ghastly injuries has been widely shared on social media, while a GoFundMe campaign for her medical costs has almost reached its US $180,000 goal.
Law enforcement, however, despite leveling a massively militarized response to protests that have spanned a better part of 2016, continue to deny that Wilansky’s injury was caused by them, and in fact pin it on protesters themselves.
“It wasn’t from our law enforcement because we didn’t deploy anything that should have caused that type of damage to her arm,” spokeswoman Maxine Herr said. She said that the woman could have been injured while demonstrators were “rigging up their own explosives” to be thrown at police.