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Injured DAPL protest files suit for clothing, shrapnel

BISMARCK — A Dakota Access Pipeline protester whose arm was severely injured in a skirmish with law enforcement has filed a federal lawsuit seeking the return of her clothing and shrapnel from her injury.

Attorneys for 22-year-old Sophia Wilansky, of New York, filed the lawsuit Friday, Feb. 2, alleging unlawful deprivation of property, lack of due process and unreasonable seizure.

Wilansky's arm was injured in a blast as pipeline protesters and law enforcement clashed at the Backwater Bridge in November 2016.

She was driven to Prairie Knights Casino, then to Sanford Hospital in Bismarck before being flown to a trauma center in Minneapolis.

Court documents say the next day, FBI agents took her clothing and a piece of shrapnel removed from her arm. Wilansky's father, Wayne Wilansky, alleges the agents had no warrant and agreed in writing to allow his daughter access to the items in a timely manner.

For about a year, the Wilanksys have attempted to obtain the items from the FBI to no avail, according to court documents. Both sides have said they wish to have the shrapnel forensically analyzed.

No one has been arrested or indicted in connection to Sophia Wilansky's injury.

"In light of this lack of activity, the government has no good faith basis for claiming an ongoing criminal investigation or a need for Sophia's clothing and shrapnel," the lawsuit states.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Delorme, FBI special agents Brian VanOosbree and Christian Freichels are respondents in Wilansky's petition for return of seized property. No court dates have been set.

Wilansky has undergone numerous surgeries to her left forearm from the explosion, which left her "permanently disfigured and disabled."