Charges have been dropped against a California music teacher caught on camera punching a student who called verbally assaulted, authorities said Tuesday.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office moved to dismiss the child abuse case against Marston Riley, 65, citing a number of reasons, such as his age, spotless criminal record and the “facts and circumstances” that led to his arrest in the Nov. 2, 2018 incident, KTLA 5 reported.
Riley, a former music instructor at Maywood Academy High School, also completed a 10-week anger management course.
Video of the incident shows Riley deck the teen in the face before swinging on him several more times, chasing him around the classroom. Onlookers attempt to break up the fracas, but Riley continues pummeling the teen, at one point beating him over the head repeatedly.
Students said the melee unfolded after Riley asked the student to leave because he wasn’t wearing the proper school uniform. Upset, the youth launched into a profanity-filled tirade, replete with racist insults aimed at the Black musician.
“You got me f—-d up, my n—a,” the teen says as he taunts Riley, at one point throwing a basketball at him. “Why’s your voice cracking, my n—a? Yeah … you ain’t tough. You ain’t sh-t.”
Riley manages to keep his cool for much of the tirade, but eventually loses it after the student dubs him a “hoe ass b—h.” He’s then punches the student in the face, knocking the teen to the ground.
Authorities charged the educator with a misdemeanor count of corporal injury to a child. He was also forced into early retirement over the incident.
At the time of the incident, one student spoke with local news outlet KTLA on the condition of anonymity. The student alleged the whole thing was a setup meant to provoke Riley, who came under fire last year for a fist fight with a different student.
“Everything was planned out …,” the student 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.”
Riley garnered widespread support following his arrest last year, with a GoFundMe campaign raising over $191,000, far exceeding its original goal, to cover his bail and legal expenses.
Fellow teachers, parents and students also came to his defense and blamed the unruly student for sparking the incident.