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Man faces felony charge over officer’s injury in Schenectady standoff

Friday, November 30, 2012
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— A Schenectady man pulled from his apartment after an August standoff has now been indicted on a felony assault count.

Steven L. Betulia, 50, formerly of 1875 Foster Ave., is accused of injuring a city police officer during the raid that ended a standoff at his residence Aug. 13.

Betulia was previously accused of pulling Officer Eric Reyell’s gas mask from his face during the raid in which police used tear gas. The result was Reyell being overcome by the gas and falling unconscious onto a cement stairway, according to papers previously filed in court. He suffered a scrape and bruise to his forehead and was taken by ambulance to Ellis Hospital.

Betulia appeared in Schenectady County Court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to the charges lodged against him. In addition to the assault count, he also faces a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest. He was ordered held without bail, pending a bail application.

Betulia is represented by attorney Deborah Slack-Bean.

Police came to Betulia’s residence that morning after a report of neighbor trouble. As they tried to speak with Betulia, though, he became uncooperative and made threats to officers, saying he was going to shoot at them through the door, police said.

With that threat, the officers backed out and called in the department’s Emergency Response Team. The building was evacuated, as were some neighboring homes. After Betulia refused to come out, officers sent in the tear gas and pulled him out.

In an unrelated indictment, a man was indicted on 16 total counts for allegedly selling cocaine from his 1322 Stratford Road home.

Roopnarain Dukharan, 58, faces a total of seven counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, six counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, five counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and one count of second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia.

He is accused of possessing and selling cocaine on Stratford Road as early as December 2010 and as recently as August 2012, according to the indictment. He is also accused of illegally possessing hydrocodone with intent to sell it in August as police raided his residence.

Dukharan was to be arraigned Thursday, but he wasn’t present. He is being held in the Warren County Jail on a 17-count indictment accusing him of labor trafficking and criminal sex act with a minor.

There, authorities allege Dukharan lured people to a property he owns and gave them drugs to perform work over the summer. He also is accused there of providing drugs and alcohol to a 14-year-old boy in exchange for oral sex.

 
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