Vehicles placed on a road by law enforcement in North Dakota blocked traffic to and form the #NoDAPL encampment, which had been established to oppose construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Photo: Irina Groushevaia
Law | National

Woman injured in #NoDAPL clash sues federal government for evidence




An opponent of the Dakota Access Pipeline is suing the federal government in connection with an incident in North Dakota during which she nearly lost her arm.

Sophia Wilansky, 22, filed the lawsuit on Friday. She alleges federal authorities went back on their promise to provide her with evidence from the late November 2016 clash.

The evidence consists of clothing worn by Wilansky and shrapnel removed from her arm. Her father, Wayne, said he turned over the items in hopes of securing justice for his daughter.

"On information and belief, over the past fourteen months, the government has not issued any indictments or made a single arrest related to Sophia’s injury," the complaint states. "Wayne has repeatedly requested that the government honor its agreement and return Sophia’s possessions, or at least make them available to Sophia’s forensic chemist for nondestructive analysis. The government continues to refuse to do so."

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Minnesota. Wilansky received treatment, including lengthy surgery, in the state after suffering injuries.


Pipeline opponents allege law enforcement used stinger grenades, water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and other weapons during the November 2016 assault. The local sheriff in North Dakota denied using stinger grenades and instead suggested that Wilansky was injured by makeshift weapons created by pipeline opponents. There has been no evidence of that claim.

Oil continues to flow through the pipeline, which was made possible after the Trump administration approved the final portion in North Dakota without consulting the affected tribes.

A federal judge later ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to take into account treaty rights, water resources and other issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. A revised decision is pending.

Read More on the Story:
Dakota Access pipeline protester injured in blast sues government for return of evidence (The Minneapolis Star Tribune February 5, 2018)
Injured protester files federal lawsuit (The Bismarck Tribune February 6, 2018)
Woman injured in DAPL protest sues for evidence (The Associated Press February 6, 2018)

Related Stories:
Jenni Monet: Public outrage mounting over #NoDAPL crackdowns (11/28)
Democracy Now: County sheriff 'not worthy of a shred of belief' (11/23)
Editorial: A 'shameful and bloody' use of force at Standing Rock (11/23)
Dakota Access cries of financial hit as victim remains in hospital (11/22)
Law enforcement blames #NoDAPL resisters for severe injuries (11/22)
Dakota Access continues legal push as frontline hit by assaults (11/21)