A Maywood high school teacher who drew community support as he faced a misdemeanor charge in connection with a video-recorded fight against a student pleaded not guilty on Friday.
Marston Riley, a 64-year-old music instructor at Maywood Academy High School, faces one count of corporal injury to a child.
The charge stems from a Nov. 2 brawl during which Riley was captured on cellphone video striking a 14-year-old boy in a classroom.
According to some of the students who witnessed the incident, Riley had asked the boy to leave the room because he did not have a proper uniform on. The teen refused and proceeded to insult the teacher, students said.
In the recording that soon went viral, the boy is heard using profanity and a racial slur. The footage also shows him hurling a basketball at Riley.
The teacher takes out his phone to call for backup before hitting the boy in the face, the recording shows.
Officials arrested Riley that day on suspicion of child abuse and later released him after he posted bail.
Cecilia Diaz Jimenez, who identified herself as a Maywood resident who also works for the school district that employed Riley, created a GoFundMe campaign for the teacher soon after the incident. Two months later, the page has raised more than $189,000.
“We all may have mixed feelings about what happened,” Jimenez wrote on the website. “But please do know that this is not the first time that Mr. Riley is attacked; physically or verbally… 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. I am sure Mr. Riley will need money to pay any fines, fees and lawyers.”
Riley could face up to one year in county jail if convicted as charged, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said. He was scheduled to appear in court on April 5.