Water protectors at Standing Rock were attacked by police on Sunday, November 20, as they were attempting to clear debris from a bridge. For at least seven hours, the police had surrounded and assaulted the crowd.
Over 300 people were reported to be injured by the medics near Cannon Ball, but police still reported no injuries!
One woman who had traveled to Standing Rock from New York City, Sophia Wilansky, 21, was horribly injured by shrapnel coming from a concussion grenade thrown by police into the crowd. According to her father who witnessed this event, the grenade was intentionally thrown at Sophia.
As her father and other bystanders have said, the concussion grenade had been thrown directly at her, hit her left arm and exploded. Sophia was merely attempting to bring water to the unarmed people who had been attacked for several hours by Morton County Sheriff deputies. Police claim that it was not a concussion grenade thrown into the crowd by one of their officers but rather a propane tank. A number of eye-witnesses with recorded statements refute this claim by police. These statements are being saved for legal proceedings against officers and Morton County.
Sophia was taken out of North Dakota for emergency surgery, and she is now in stable condition. Her father prepared the following statement, detailing the series of events:
At around 4:30 a.m. after the police hit the bridge with water cannons and rubber bullets and pepper spray, they lobbed a number of concussion grenades which are not supposed to be thrown at people directly, at protesters, or protectors, as they want to be called. A grenade exploded right as it hit Sophia in the left forearm, taking most of the undersurface of her left arm with it. Both her radial and ulnar artery were completely destroyed. Her radius was shattered and a large piece of it is missing. Her medial nerve is missing a large section as well. All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away. The police did not do this by accident—it was an intentional act of throwing it directly at her. Additionally police were shooting people in face and groin intending to do the most possible damage. Sophia 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. She will be, every day for the foreseeable future, fearful of losing her arm and hand. There are no words to describe the pain of watching my daughter cry and say she was sorry for the pain she caused me and my wife. I died a thousand deaths today and will continue to do so for quite some time. I am left without the right words to describe the anguish of watching her look at her now alien arm and hand.
A fund set up by friends and verified to help with Sophia’s recovery is set up here:
The Standing Rock Medic Healer Council deplores the ongoing use of violence by the state of North Dakota to address the concerns of the thousands of people peacefully assembled at Standing Rock to insist on the right to clean healthy drinking water.
Water is Life, Mni Wiconi
Linda Black Elk, PhD, Ethnobotanist, Sitting Bull College
Michael Knudsen, MPH candidate, Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council
Noah Morris, EMT
Amelia Massucco, RN
John Andrews, RN
Kristina Golden, EMT, herbalist
Sebastian Rodriguez, RN
Rosemary Fister, RN, MNPHN, DNP Candidate>
Rupa Marya, MD, DoNoHarm Coalition, University of California – San Francisco
David Kingfisher, MD, JD, Wichita State University
Jesse Lopez, MD, Heartland Surgical Care
Kalama O Ka Aina Niheu, MD, Aha Aloha Aina
Howard Ehrman, MD, MPH, University of Illinois – Chicago
Geeta Maker-Clark, MD, University of Chicago
Elizabeth Friedman, MD
Vanessa Bolin, ALS Paramedic
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