A federal grand jury in North Dakota is looking into a violent November clash between Dakota Access pipeline opponents and officers in which a woman was seriously injured.
Steve Martinez, 42, a pipeline protester from Williston, N.D., has been ordered to testify regarding the arm injury of Sophia Wilansky, 21, of New York, according to his attorney, Ralph Hurvitz. Protesters maintain she was injured by a grenade thrown by police, but authorities say she was hurt by a small propane tank that protesters rigged to explode.
Martinez had been scheduled to testify before the grand jury Wednesday, but Hurvitz said the matter was delayed to Feb. 1. Martinez made a statement outside the courthouse, saying he would refuse to cooperate and was prepared to go to jail if found in contempt of court.
“Losing my freedom is a small price to pay for keeping my dignity and standing up for what’s right,” he said.
We’ve maintained from the very beginning that Wilansky’s injuries are not consistent with any of the flashbang, stinger (a kind of crowd control device that throws rubber balls at low velocities), CS grenades used by police (handheld or launched), or foam baton rounds. Officers simply are not issued any devices consistent with her rather interesting injuries.
What is far more likely than a police-caused injury is that Sophia Wilansky was injured attempting to arm a propane-based terrorist bomb to use against the police, and that’s what police seem to have witnessed.
At approximately 3:00 AM Monday morning, 21-year-old protestor Sophia Wilansky was wounded in a small explosion. Coincidentally, a young woman at the same remote place, at the exact same time, was wounded trying to plant bombs (my bold below).
Law enforcement say they are investigating the use of homemade explosives at a Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protest. They have recovered weapons and are investigating whether or not they are related to injuries a female protester suffered.
Law enforcement say around 3:00 a.m. November 21, protester activity had de-escalated near the Backwater Bridge, but they noticed two males and a female using a barricade to hide their activity.
Officials say they gave repeated orders for the three people to come out from behind the barricade and they attempted to force them out with “less than lethal” bean bags and sponge rounds. It was then the officers noticed the protesters approach and roll multiple metallic cylinder objects.
“The subjects were given opportunities to retreat back, but it became obvious that they were tampering with the vehicle or planting a device,” said Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tom Iverson. “Their strange mannerisms led law enforcement to believe they were there for a purpose with a calculated effort to either cause harm or breach the line.”
Lt. Iverson says after the cylinders were rolled, law enforcement witnessed an explosion. Several protesters ran to the area, pulled a female from under the vehicle, and fled the scene.
Law Enforcement received information that protesters were using one-pound propane cylinders as explosives and the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation with support from Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms recovered three of these propane canisters from the site of the explosion.
Investigators also collected rocks and glass jars consistent with the design of Molotov cocktails that were used as weapons against law enforcement.
It was after the female was pulled away from the site of the explosion that Wilansky was brought back to protest medics, with her allies claiming that a police “concussion grenade” injured her.
Curiously, none of the protestors have been able to provide video, photos, or physical evidence of the police possessing, much less deploying such a device, as officers deployed on site do not use concussion grenades.
After the explosion and injury, ATF investigators recovered a propane-based bomb. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force then confiscated Wilansky’s clothes and the shrapnel recovered from her arm.
The grand jury’s rapid progress would seem to suggest they have sufficient evidence that Wilansky and her two males co-conspirators (was one of them Martinez?) did indeed prematurely detonate a terrorist IED meant to harm police officers.
It’s going to be very interesting to watch this case develop, and see if investigators have the evidence to show that the “innocent victim” is instead a cold-blooded eco-terrorist.