Why Won’t This #NoDAPL Activist Testify Before a Grand Jury Investigating the Injury to Sophia Wilansky


As the Dakota Access Pipeline nears completion, and the #NoDAPL movement’s activist lawyers engage in desperate final maneuvers to stop it, I’ve had a lot of you readers ask me for an update on the Sophia Wilansky situation.

Wilansky was a #NoDAPL activist who nearly got her arm blown off when protesters attacked law enforcement at the Backwater Bridge near the now-defunct Oceti Sakowin camp. Protesters claimed that the grievous injury was the result of law enforcement throwing a concussion grenade at her.

Law enforcement responded by pointing out that they had no such ordnance at their disposal, and suggesting that Wilanski was injured by the protesters themselves who were allegedly building improvised explosive devices and who were also using a semi-truck to try and remove a barricade on the bridge.

The federal government convened a grand jury to investigate the matter earlier this year, but one of the protesters they subpoenaed to testify refused to cooperate.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]What I suspect, and this is just my opinion, is that Wilansky’s injury was probably caused either by her own actions or the actions of her fellow protesters.[/mks_pullquote]

“I will in no way condone or cooperate with this attempt to repress this movement here at Standing Rock,” Steven Martinez has said of his resistance.

Now the feds have withdrawn the subpoena.

There’s no word on what, if anything, will happen yet. According to the Bismarck Tribune, U.S. Attorney Chris Meyer isn’t commenting.

The proceedings of federal grand juries are secret. It could be that the feds are letting this go. It could also be that they’re getting evidence from someone else. Earlier this month The Guardian reported, in a thoroughly one-sided way, that agents of an anti-terrorism task force were looking into the matter.

Maybe they come up with something.

It is interesting, though, that the #NoDAPL movement has done almost nothing to substantiate their claims that law enforcement caused Wilansky’s injury. You would think that Martinez, if he had information as to how that injury happened, would be happy for the opportunity to appear in court and provide that information under oath.

After all, if the cops really did cause a protester to lose her arm, that’s a situation worth learning the truth about.

What I suspect, and this is just my opinion, is that Wilansky’s injury was probably caused either by her own actions or the actions of her fellow protesters. They’re no doubt hoping this matter goes away.

UPDATE: Originally this post referred to Wilansky losing her arm, but that is inaccurate. It was badly injured, but she did not lose it. The post has been corrected to reflect that.