DAPL protester severely injured after recent incident on Backwater Bridge

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The Standing Rock Medic and Healer Council - not to be confused with the Standing Rock Ambulance Service - say law enforcement's use of force at Backwater Bridge Sunday evening resulted in hundreds of injuries among protesters.

They say water hoses, rubber bullets, concussion grenades and CS gas caused head wounds, lacerations, orthopedic and eye injuries and internal bleeding. They say at least 26 people were injured seriously enough to be treated at hospitals.

But the most serious injury reported from that night sent one woman to a hospital in Minneapolis.

The condition of 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky is unknown but what we do know is she could have her arm amputated from an injury obtained Sunday night.

Sunday evening and into Monday morning, tensions escalated between police and protesters against construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The confrontation on the Backwater Bridge involved at least 400 protesters, including 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky.

Wilansky's arm was seriously injured at the event.

"Even though she's lying there with her arm pretty much blown off, she's focused on the fact that it's not about her, it's about what we're doing to our country, what we're doing to our Native peoples, what we're doing to our environment. She's going to have to undergo many surgeries," said Wayne Wilansky, Sophia's father.

Wayne goes on to say his daughter may need as many as 20 surgeries to save her arm and hand. He and witnesses to the incident say Sophia was struck in the arm by a concussion grenade thrown by law enforcement.

"Intentionally, a police officer threw a grenade that hit her right in her forearm and exploded right as it hit her forearm. There are many witnesses, and they have scrap metal, and the sheriff's office says they did it to themselves - that they blew up their own bombs or something. That's ridiculous," said Wayne.

Police officers have a different view on the incident. Highway Patrol Lt. Tom Iverson says they weren't using concussion grenades at the scene and says the claim is false.

"There is no merit to that, but I assure the citizens of North Dakota, the citizens of the Bismarck-Mandan area that law enforcement is investigating this, and all the facts will be out there. It's still being looked into, there's still interviews that still need to be conducted," said Iverson.

Law enforcement says at the time of the explosion they witnessed several protesters run to the area where it happened. They add that a group of protesters pulled a female from under a burned vehicle on the bridge, then fled.

Upon further investigation, law enforcement says they recovered a punctured one-pound propane cylinder, glass jars and rocks, which they say are commonly used to make Molotov cocktails.

Iverson says authorities are aware of the information about Sophia, but he says the injuries are inconsistent with any resources used by law enforcement and are not a direct result of any tools or weapons they used.