Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

It 'blew the bone out of her arm,' Standing Rock protester's dad says

21-year-old Sophia Wilansky's arm was shredded while in Standing Rock.

"Even though she's laying there with her arm pretty much blown off, she's focused on the fact that it's not about her."

That's what Wayne Wilansky said of his 21-year-old daughter as she was about to go back into surgery at the Hennepin County Medical Center. "It's about the indigenous people, what's happening to them."

Sophia Wilansky had been in Standing Rock to protest against the construction of an oil pipeline. She suffered a serious, gruesome arm injury, and could end up losing her hand and arm.

Photos of Sophia's injury have circulated online – a portion of the 21-year-old's arm no longer resembles an arm. It's split open, with bone fragments clearly visible and shredded. The wound is gaping; muscle and flesh ripped away.

How she was injured hasn’t been verified – but Sophia's father and other protesters say it happened Sunday when she was struck directly by a concussion grenade. Demonstrators and law enforcement clashed for hours that evening, with some people (including U.S. Sen. Al Franken) questioning the use of police tactics during the encounter.

"The force of the explosion blew the bone out of her arm," Wayne said Tuesday afternoon. "All of the arteries and all of the muscle that supports her arm, it just blew out."

A Morton County Sheriff's Department spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times they did not deploy concussion grenades, or anything that could have done that type of damage, and wasn't sure how the injury occurred.

Wayne said doctors have removed pieces of shrapnel from her arm and will be saving it as evidence.

According to Sophia's dad, she might need as many as 20 surgeries. Even if the surgeries do manage to save the arm, it likely won't be functional.

"We can't be throwing grenades at people who are peacefully protesting or singing and chanting and supporting our indigenous nations," Wayne said. "This is not Afghanistan."

While that was by fair the worst of Sophia's injuries, Wayne said his daughter also had welts all over her body from bullets. She had been hit at least 14 times, he said.

A HCMC spokesperson told GoMN Sophia is in serious condition as of Tuesday morning.

A GoFuneMe has raised more than $160,000 for Sophia's medical fund since being created Monday. A prayer vigil is planned for 4 p.m. outside Hennepin County Medical Center.

Wayne said Sophia recently graduated William's College and has been involved with activist protests before. She had been at Standing Rock for three weeks and had planned to stay the whole winter, he said.

We've reached out to the sheriff's department for a comment, and will update this story if we hear back.

Next Up

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

Snowmobiler goes through the ice on lake near Duluth

Ice thickness varies greatly throughout Minnesota right now.

snow, measuring snow, snow totals

Here's how much snow fell during the weekend winter winter storm

The Highway 2 corridor in north-central Minnesota was the bullseye.

Minneapolis Fire Department

Roof collapses on 3 firefighters in south Minneapolis

The fire happened at a residence east of Lake Nokomis on Sunday.

Joleigha Johnson

42-year-old Minnesota woman missing since December 1

She drives a white 2009 Chevrolet Impala.

icy roads, bad roads

20-year-old killed in crash on icy highway during Sunday snowstorm

More than a foot of snow had fallen in the area where the crash occurred.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings fans clamor for change after latest bad loss under Mike Zimmer

The "fire Mike Zimmer" tweets are raging on Twitter again.

Tony Oliva

Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat are finally heading to Cooperstown

The Twins legends were elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame on Sunday night.

Tanner Morgan

Report: Gophers to play in Guaranteed Rate Bowl

The Gophers will reportedly head to Phoenix to take on West Virginia.

Adam Thielen

Winless Lions beat Vikings on final play of game

Adam Thielen also left early with an ankle injury

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 7-0 on Willis' late 3-pointer

The Gophers earned back-to-back road victories for the first time since January 2017.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Woman in critical condition after being shot in the head in St. Paul

Officers responded to the incident at around 2:45 a.m. Saturday.

Related

Violent clashes at Standing Rock protests being looked at by a grand jury

21-year-old Sophia Wilanksy suffered a gruesome arm injury while at the protests.

Let's talk about that Standing Rock check-in post getting shared on Facebook

A Facebook post is telling people to check in at Standing Rock to "confuse" law enforcement.

Minnesota is not helping ND authorities with the Standing Rock protests anymore

The last of the Minnesota deputies left Monday morning, a North Dakota spokesperson said.

Standing Rock protesters have been ordered to leave immediately

"These persons are ordered to leave the evacuation area immediately, and are further ordered not to return to the evacuation area."

The protested North Dakota pipeline will be blocked for (at least) a bit longer

The possibility of letting the pipeline company drill underneath Lake Oahe has been under review.

A reroute of the protested ND oil pipeline is being considered, Obama says

The president said they'll "let it play out" for a bit longer.

Sorting out which Minnesota agencies are helping at ND pipeline protests – and why

One of the big questions: Why are Minnesota law enforcement agencies at the scene of the North Dakota protest?

Pipeline protests: Officials shoot drone that attacked a helicopter

People on board the helicopter say they were "in fear of their lives."