According to reports, attorneys for 22-year-old Sophia Wilansky, of New York, filed the lawsuit Friday, alleging unlawful deprivation of property, lack of due process and unreasonable seizure.
At 4am on November 21, 2016, Sophia Wilansky was on the Backwater Bridge during a protest. This is where Wilansky suffered a left arm injury in an explosion. Wilansky’s injury is considered the most severe to come out of the protests held at the Standing Rock pipeline battle.
Protesters allege the blast was caused by a concussion grenade thrown by officers, while police maintain it was caused by a propane canister that protesters rigged to explode.
Court documents say the next day, FBI agents took her clothing and a piece of shrapnel that was removed from her arm. Wilansky’s father, Wayne Wilansky, alleges the agents had no warrant but they agreed in writing to allow his daughter access to the items in a timely manner. That was almost 15 months ago.
Sophia Wilansky’s lawsuit seeks either the return of shrapnel and clothing, or an opportunity to have it analyzed by a forensic scientist she hired.
“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.
Last year the FBI applied for a warrant to search her Facebook account as the feds sought evidence of Wilansky’s possible connection to homemade explosives, according to court documents. “It did seem like one of the motivations of going after her Facebook account was to see her associates, to see her friends,” said Wilansky’s attorney Lauren Regan, who heads the Civil Liberties Defense Center.
Wilansky’s father, Wayne Wilansky, has told The Associated Press that his daughter plans to sue law enforcement, and that the evidence could bolster the case. The FBI’s investigation remains unclear. No court dates have been set.
Prayers for her and her family.