Teacher Charged After Being Caught on Camera Punching Student, 14, Who Called Him a Racist Slur
A Los Angeles teacher has been charged after being caught on camera punching a student earlier this month
Marston Riley, the Los Angeles high school music teacher who was caught on camera punching a teenage student earlier this month, has been charged.
On Friday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced in a news release that the 64-year-old was charged with one misdemeanor count of corporal injury to a child.
On Nov. 2, Riley was arrested at Maywood Academy High School in California after repeatedly punching a 14-year-old boy in class.
In the cellphone video, captured by another student and shared by local news outlets, Riley and the boy, who has not been identified, can be seen standing at the front of a classroom where they had a heated dispute.
Students told KTLA that Riley allegedly asked the boy to leave the classroom because he was not wearing a proper uniform. In the footage, the student can be heard responding by repeatedly saying a racial slur at Riley, who is black. The brawl escalated further after the student allegedly threw a basketball at Riley.
Though Riley appeared to be standing quietly at first, he can later be seen striking the boy, who was seen on the ground wrapping his arms around Riley’s leg. The altercation ended when a woman in a yellow safety vest intervened.
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Authorities confirmed the student was treated for “moderate injuries” at a local hospital before he was released. Meanwhile, Riley was arrested on suspicion of child abuse, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department inmate records.
He was kept overnight and released on $50,000 bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday, but was continued to Jan. 4.
The Special Victims Bureau of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is currently conducting an investigation as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“We are extremely disturbed by the reports of the events that occurred at Maywood Academy High School,” the Los Angeles Unified School District said in a statement. “We take this matter very seriously and do not condone violence or intolerance of any kind. Los Angeles Unified is cooperating with law enforcement in investigating this incident.”
District Superintendent Beutner also released a statement following the altercation.
“The incident we saw does not reflect the values of Maywood Academy High School and the wonderful teachers and students who make up the Maywood community,” he said. “We will continue our work to make each school a safe and welcoming learning environment for students and to provide teachers and staff with the support they deserve.”
Following the incident, a former coworker of Riley Cecilia Diaz Jimenez created a GoFundMe page for the teacher, claiming this isn’t the first time he’s been attacked by a student. So far the page has raised almost $190,000.
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“Be mindful that the school district is looking at dismissing him and I would not doubt if the student’s parents are looking into pressing criminal charges,” she wrote in the page description.
“We all may have mixed feelings about what happened. But please do know that this is not the first time that Mr. Riley is attacked; physically or verbally. He is a great person and a great teacher,” Jimenez added.
Though Riley did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, he spoke out in a YouTube video thanking students for their support.
A lawyer for Riley could not immediately be reached by PEOPLE.