A high school music teacher in Maywood was arrested Friday after a classroom fistfight between him and a student was caught on video, officials said.
Marston Riley was taken into custody on suspicion of child abuse and causing great bodily injury on a child after the brawl at Maywood Academy High School on Pine Avenue was reported to authorities around 1:30 p.m., said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Joana Warren, a public information officer with the department.
Inmate records show the suspect is 64-years-old and was arrested about 2:30 p.m.
Detectives with the agency’s Special Victims Bureau are now investigating the case, Warren added.
Students who spoke with KTLA Friday night were all sympathetic to Riley, saying the classmate involved had pushed him to the brink.
The students said the confrontation began after Riley asked the young man to leave the classroom because he wasn’t wearing a proper uniform.
The student allegedly refused, and cellphone video captured by another student shows him challenging the instructor, using profanity and repeatedly hurling a racial slur at Riley, who is black.
The situation escalates further after the student throws a basketball at Riley, who is then seen pulling out his cellphone to call for backup.
The student continues to insult and provoke Riley. The teacher holds his composure for a time but then punches the boy in the face, swiftly and without warning.
The ensuing brawl lasts about 30 seconds, with the pair clambering across the room as Riley repeatedly delivers blows and others in the classroom shriek. The boy is only able to deliver about one punch.
The video shows Riley continued to aggressively pursue the student even after other school officials responded to break up the fight.
The footage ends as the student is being pulled from the room by campus staff.
Several students spoke with KTLA Friday night on the condition of anonymity.
One alleged that the situation was a setup.
“Everything was planned out,” he said. “There were students there who were already taking out their phones to record the incident. I don’t think it’s completely fair that they’re just putting the blame all on (Riley), when I personally know that he’s a good guy.”
Another spoke up in defense of the music instructor’s character.
“I had this teacher before and I had no problem with him,” that student said. “He was a really nice teacher, I always respected him. He always had a really good relationship with every student.”
Inmate records show Riley was arrested at about 2:30 p.m. and was being held on $50,000 bail.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Marston Riley’s age. The post has since been updated.